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Kurdistan PM – US Ambassador Discussion on Erbil – Baghdad Tensions, Oil Deals

05 Dec 2012
The Prime minister of Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani and US ambassador to Iraq Robert Beecroft discussed over the current tensions between Baghdad and Erbil, in a meeting. During the conversation Barzani stressed Kurdistan’s commitment to dialog and a peaceful solution to tensions sparkled by the deployment of Iraqi troops in the undecided territories. Barzani said that Kurdistan’s political leaders have always believed that these difficulties can only resolved through dialog. Hence they will not spare any effort to find a peaceful solution. Barzani also said that a Kudish delegation from the Ministry of Peshmerga (Kurdish regional guards) was in Baghdad few days back to negotiate with the government of Iraqi on the subject of the Dijla forces. He that primarily positive development was made, but that Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki had refused the delegation’s recommendations for peace. Erbil-Baghdad tensions have been high over the past few weeks after Kurdistan’s leaders reacted angrily to Maliki’s decision to set up his Dijla forces in areas south of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Kurdistan’s leaders sent in thousands of their own Peshmerga forces armed with heavy weaponry into the unresolved areas. Barzani said during his meeting with the US ambassador that they would not accept those areas to be controlled one-sidedly by Iraq. The autonomous region’s oil and gas policy also were amongst topic discussed by the Kurdish premier and the US ambassador. Barzani also expressed that they run their oil policy based on the Iraqi constitution and they are using their constitutional rights aptly. Baghdad opposes most of Kurdistan’s oil deals with foreign companies and has threatened in the past blacklist multinationals like Exxon Mobil from operating in the centre and south of Iraq unless they cancel their deals with Erbil. Currently close to 50 foreign companies, amongst them France’s Total and Russia’s Gazprom, are controlling in the Kurdistan Region. In his meeting with Barzani, the US ambassador said that his government respects Erbil’s oil contracts with foreign firms and that he hoped all tensions are resolved peacefully. Source: [Rudaw]
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