World Bulletin / News Desk
The Kurdish regional government (KRG) in northern Iraq will continue to sell its oil via Turkey, despite the Iraqi government's appeal on Friday to an international arbitration court demanding an immediate halt to the sales, according to a statement from KRG's ministry of natural resources on Sunday.
The statement says it will not allow "hollow threats" from the Iraqi government to "interfere with the KRG’s oil export regime".
Baghdad filed the lawsuit against Ankara the day after KRG gave permission for the 1.4 million barrels of Kurdish oil to be sold.
Ankara announced that it hasn't received any official notification regarding the lawsuit.
The oil has been sitting in the south eastern Turkish port of Ceyhan for the last six months, while Irbil and Baghdad negotiated an agreement for the selling of the oil.
However KRG announced last week it was going to go ahead with the sale despite no agreement from Baghdad.
Turkey acted against the 2010 Iraq - Turkey pipeline agreement by mediating the sale of Kurdish oil without Iraqi central government consent, Assem Jihad, spokesperson of Iraq's Ministry of Oil, told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
He added that all the oil companies must obtain permission from central government for exploration and production activities, otherwise the government could take legal action.
The selling of the oil also bypasses Iraq's national State Oil Marketing Company and violates the countries constitution, Baghdad claims.
KRG, however, says that Baghdad cut their share of the revenues from national budget and that they are determined to export oil via Turkey in order to compensate the loss, claiming to do so is a unequivocal constitutional right and in line with 2007's Iraq oil law.
The two sides also disagree about which bank the oil revenue is to be held. Baghdad insisted the deposits should be kept in JP Morgan while Irbil favored Turkey's state-owned lender Halkbank.
The KRG in northern Iraq announced on Friday that payments for oil will go to Halkbank.
The funds would be treated as part of the Kurdish government’s budget according to the Iraqi constitution, the Kurdish side said and added five percent of the sales revenue will be set aside in a separate account for reparations.
Iraq holds the world's fifth largest known oil reserves with 143 billion barrels, of which the northern Kurdish regions hold 17 per cent.Last Mod: 26 Mayıs 2014, 17:04