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Iraq Vows to Block Oil Contracts Signed by Kurds - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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ANKARA (AFP) – Baghdad will block any contracts signed by foreign oil companies with Iraqi Kurdish regional authorities, Iraq’s Oil Minister Hussein Chahristani said on Saturday.

“All contracts will be handled by the central government,” he told a joint press conference in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart Hilmi Guler.

“No contracts signed by any regions in Iraq will be recognised by the government of Iraq. Companies will not be allowed to work on Iraqi territory unless their contract is approved by the central government in Baghdad.”

The government in Baghdad and authorities in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq have been at loggerheads over the issue for months.

In November the minister announced he had cancelled around 15 oil contracts signed by the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan.

In response, Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzan insisted the contracts would be honoured, saying “nobody can cancel contracts signed by Kurdistan”, as his government approved the signature of seven more oil contracts.

The autonomous Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq has signed 15 exploration and export contracts with 20 international companies since it passed its own oil law last August, infuriating the Baghdad government.

Chahristani has repeatedly said he considers the contracts “illegal”.

He has threatened the companies concerned that they would not in future have the chance to work with the Iraqi government, threats which have so far have not been carried out.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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