World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraq's Finance Ministry has begun paying an initial $650 million to Iraqi Kurdistan for oil companies working in the autonomous region, Deputy Prime Minister Rosh Nuri al-Shawish told Reuters on Tuesday.
Baghdad and Kurdistan agreed last month to draw a line under a dispute over oil payments, after the latter pledged to continue exports and Baghdad said it would pay foreign companies working there.
Kurdistan has angered Baghdad by signing deals with foreign oil majors, such as Exxon and Chevron, contracts the central government rejects as illegal.
"The federal Finance Ministry has started transferring the first oil payment of $650 million to the Kurdish region," said Shawish, a Kurdish member of the central government negotiating team.
In April, Kurdistan halted shipments of its oil in protest over what it said were overdue payments from the central government to companies in the Kurdish region.
It later resumed shipments, but threatened to cut them off again if there was no agreement on payment.
Kurdish Energy Minister Ashti Hawrami said on Sunday payments would be transferred to the autonomous region that same day, offering hope the long-running conflict is easing.
The oil contracts row is part of a broader battle between the Baghdad government and Kurdistan over oil rights, territory and regional autonomy that is straining Iraq's uneasy federal union.
'Tunisia's parliament made a significant breakthrough for human rights by approving proposed changes in detainee rights,' the rights watchdog says
The meeting will be the first of its kind since a schism in the 11th Century split what was then the only Christian Church into Western and Eastern branches
German and French interior minister stress out that refugee flow from Turkey must be reduced
German chancellor is due to meet Turkish premier to discuss ways to make progress on reducing illegal migration and replacing it with legal migration
Neither Russian president nor foreign minister are planning to contact with their Turkish colleagues
'The AU troops pulled out of the town and Shebab militants entered, and have secured control without fighting'
'Albania is faced with an ecological disaster and we are obliged to take drastic measures against forest exploitation for industry and export,' environment minister says
Recent months have seen sporadic militant attacks on UN peacekeepers and Malian army personnel
The UK has rejected the UN panel decision on Assange claiming that he was never arbitrarily detained.
A UN panel has ruled in favour of Julian Assange and said the UK and Sweden is "arbitrarily detaining" the WikiLeaks founder.
With the UN declaring that food security is decreasing at an alarming rate, the Zimbabwe government has declared a national emergency.looming.
State of emergency is endangering human rights in France, campaigners claim
'There are lawyers that are considering whether or not that term can be properly applied', White House says
The court says the order is being suspended due to his poor health
'The fighting has seen an escalation and regime forces bear the responsibility for that,' German foreign minister says
According to the UN panel, the detention of Julian Assange is illegal