The Iraqi prime minister has called on the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to stop independent oil exports, saying the crude produced there must be placed under the central government’s control.
Haider al-Abadi made the comments on Saturday during his first meeting with Nechirvan Barzani, prime minster of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), following the controversial secession referendum held in the northern region last September.
During the talks, Abadi further reiterated his conditions for lifting restrictions imposed on the Kurdistan region in the aftermath of the controversial plebiscite, including a direct international air travel ban.
According to a statement issued by Abadi’s office, the Baghdad government wants the airports and border crossings in the Kurdistan region to fall back under the control of the federal power.
“They also discussed an oil-for-budget proposal, pending the approval of PM Abadi that will allow the KRG to receive its share of the budget in return for allowing the Iraqi government to export and sell oil produced by the Kurdish government,” the website of Kurdish-language Rudaw television network reported.
Abadi also reaffirmed the “position of the [Iraqi] government that it is necessary to commit to the borders of the [Kurdistan] Region as stipulated by the constitution,” according to the statement.