By John Lee.
A delegation from the Kurdish Regional Government, including Iraqi Kurdish Prime Minister Nerchivan Barzani and Natural Resources Minister Ashti Hawrami (pictured) are in Baghdad to resolve the long running dispute over oil exports from the KRG, Reuters reports.
The drive to solve the row over exports gained new urgency in 2011 when the KRG completed a pipeline to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan in Turkey. Current Kurdish plans could see as much as 2 million barrels of oil and 10 billion cubic metres of gas exported to Turkey annually, a development that has transformed the political dynamic of the region.
Diplomacy to resolve the issue has continued on and off for several years, often appearing near resolution only for the dispute to renew. Since the Kurdish pipeline has become operational however, the issue has gained a new urgency. Baghdad’s response to date has been to withhold a proportion of the KRG’s budget and threaten to sue Ankara. Analysts are divided as to whether this dispute will be resolved soon.