Iraq’s Kurdistan is ready to restart negotiations with Baghdad to end a political crisis, focusing on a long-delayed oil law to hand regional authorities more say in managing energy resources, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Rosh Nuri al-Shawish, a Kurd, said.
The positive tone from Shawish signalled the Shiite-led central government and self-governed Kurdistan may be edging towards easing their dispute over oil, territory and power-sharing that is straining Iraq’s uneasy federal union.
“Approving this draft and adding some amendments which are agreed on by all parties ... is the proper way to resolve this,” the deputy prime minister, one of the go-betweens for talks between Baghdad and Kurdistan, said in an interview.
Shawish said Kurdish officials had met with the head of the Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shiite National Alliance, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, for preliminary talks, and the atmosphere had improved enough for them to see room for progress.
Shawish told Reuters Kurdistan believes the oil disputes can be resolved through an amended 2007 draft of an oil and gas law, which all parties had agreed to previously.
Kurdistan has tested Baghdad’s resolve for months by signing deals with foreign oil majors, such as Exxon and Chevron , contracts the central government rejects as illegal and part of a Kurdish push for more autonomy.