Kurds slam Iraq's case against Turkey over oil sales- UPDATED

Kurds say Iraq's request for arbitration over oil exports from Turkey will fail

Kurds slam Iraq's case against Turkey over oil sales- UPDATED

World Bulletin/News Desk

Iraq's bid to thwart exports of oil from Kurdistan via Turkey by filing for arbitration is a "hollow threat" that will fail, the autonomous region said in a statement on Sunday.

The Iraqi Oil Ministry said on Friday it was taking legal action against Turkey and state-owned pipeline operator BOTAS after the first cargo of crude to be piped from Kurdistan was sold without Baghdad's consent.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said it was undeterred by "hollow threats" from Baghdad and accused the Iraqi Oil Ministry of flouting the country's constitution.

"The Iraqi Oil Ministry is acting in violation of the 2005 Iraq Constitution, in violation of Iraqi law, and in violation of international law," read the KRG statement.

"Its threats will fail."

The Kurds say they are constitutionally entitled to develop and export the resources in their region, and late last year finished building a pipeline to Turkey in defiance of Baghdad, which claims sole authority to manage all the country's oil.

Oil has been flowing through the new pipeline into storage tanks at the Turkish port of Ceyhan since the start of the year, and the first shipment of more than one million barrels was loaded last week and set off towards Europe.

The request for arbitration was filed with the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce.

"The KRG assures its contractors and international partners, including transporters and traders, that it will not allow hollow threats from the Iraqi Oil Ministry to interfere with the KRG's oil export regime," the regional government said.

Iraqi MP urges parliament session on north oil exports

An Iraqi lawmaker on Sunday called for holding an emergency parliament session on the export and sale of northern Iraq's oil without approval from the federal government in Baghdad.

"The parliament leadership has to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Iraqi people and public funds," Ali al-Fayyad, the head of the Energy Committee in the Iraqi parliament, told Anadolu Agency.

"We must take decisions that go hand in hand with the responsibility of the parliament to preserve the wealth of the nation," al-Fayyad added.

On Thursday, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said northern Iraq's oil, stored in Turkey's Ceyhan Port, had started to be exported to international markets on Wednesday night.

In November 2013, Turkish and Kurdish officials in northern Iraq signed an agreement that would enable the flow of oil from Taq Taq fields in northern Iraq to the Ceyhan port on Turkey's southeastern Mediterranean coast.

Al-Fayyad described as a "violation" of the Iraqi constitution the decision of the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq to export the oil without consent of the federal government in Baghdad.

Relations between Baghdad and the Kurdish government in northern Iraq have been tense for some time now on a wide range of issues, including oil and the share of the northern Iraq region in Iraq's general budget.

Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2014, 17:55
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