Iraqi Parliament speaker in bid for ‘joint Iraq decision’ on oil exports to Turkey

Iraqi Parliament speaker in bid for ‘joint Iraq decision’ on oil exports to Turkey

Iraqi Parliament speaker in bid for ‘joint Iraq decision’ on oil exports to Turkey

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi shakes hands with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Ankara, Feb 5. AA photo

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi has underlined the importance of reaching a joint decision by the federal government in Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on the controversial issue of planned pipe oil exports to Turkey.

Al-Nujaifi described the aim of his visit as being to normalize bilateral relations between the two neighbors, adding that “he had succeeded in bringing the views of the two countries closer to each other.”

“The agreements on the issue of oil are as yet at their first stages. The absence of a final resolution on this issue and having no agreement made in Iraq will embarrass approval of the general budget in Parliament,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with Anadolu Agency posted late on Feb. 5, noting that approval of the general budget had already been much delayed.

“We need fast steps to be taken on this issue,” said al-Nujaifi, who earlier in the day held separate talks with both Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

“I guess the views of the parties are very close to each other. The oil agreement has not yet been finalized but there are predictions about this. I’m trying to help too. It will be right to have a decision made by Iraq. I believe that an ‘Iraq decision’ arising from an agreement between Iraqi Kurdistan and Baghdad will be appropriate. Turkish officials also conveyed that they will not impede if an agreement between the KRG and Baghdad is struck, and said they would support it,” al-Nujaifi said.

Meanwhile, Davutoğlu initiated a telephone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, in order to extend condolences to him on the latest terror attacks in the neighboring country, diplomatic sources told Anadolu late on Feb. 5.

As of Feb. 2, the Kurdistan Alliance in the Iraqi Parliament confirmed that progress had been made in the talks between the federal government and KRG regarding the export of Kurdish oil.

Last month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatened to cut central government funding for the KRG if the Kurds pursued a drive to pipe oil exports to Turkey without Baghdad’s approval.

In the following days, al-Nujaifi had to suspend a parliamentary session due to the lack of quorum after the withdrawal of Kurdistan Alliance before the presentation of the budget law.