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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iraqi Kurds call for compromise in oil dispute with Baghdad

RIA Novosti

18:50 28/10/2011

MOSCOW, October 28 (RIA Novosti, Tsvetelina Miteva) - Iraq’s central government must give its semi-autonomous northern Kurdish enclave greater access to national oil revenues to secure the country’s political stability and economic prosperity, a leading Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) official said on Friday.

Northern Iraq contains around one-third of the country's 143 billion barrel oil deposits and Iraq's central government in Baghdad and the KRG in Arbil are in a long-running dispute over revenues.

“Our government [the KRG] is patient; we have long been urging Baghdad to amend laws regulating Kurds’ access to national oil revenues, but our patience will not last for long if we do not see any changes,” KRG legal chief Ali Pishtovan said at a news conference in Moscow.

In line with Iraq’s federal system of government, Kurdistan can seek independence from the central government if it is unhappy with national policies.

Iraq currently allocates some 13 percent of the country’s oil-based budget to the Kurdish enclave, but KRG insists it need more money to invest in the enclave’s development, which, in turn, will promote brighter prospects for the rest of the country.

Iraqi Kurdistan suffered decades of repression by Saddam Hussein's regime, during which more than 100,000 Kurds have perished.

Since the fall of Saddam, investment has started to flow and the region has had greater access to central government funds.

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