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Kurdistan slaps down Iraq ‘threat’ to its oil export policy

Special to WorldTribune.com

BAGHDAD — The autonomous region of Kurdistan has reaffirmed its intention to maintain an energy policy independent from the Iraqi government.

An oil worker in Kirkuk. /AFP

The Kurdish Regional Government has rejected efforts by Baghdad to
explore for energy in areas claimed by the Kurds. The Iraqi Oil Ministry has signed an agreement for British Petroleum to develop an oil field near the disputed city of Kirkuk.

“Iraq’s citizens are simply tired of this sort of language of threat and
intimidation, which in the cynical pursuit of narrow political agendas
serves only to create division and strife,” the KRG said in a statement.

“In terms of oil and gas management, the KRG firmly believes in, and abides by, the letter and spirit of Iraq’s permanent, federal constitution.”

Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Karim Luaibi said he might reduce its budget
for Kurdistan by 17 percent unless KRG stops independent exports.

Luaibi said Baghdad would also sue Genel Energy, the first company contracted by KRG to export oil from Kurdistan. Genel said it planned to expand exports in 2013.

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