Thursday, May 24, 2007


Iraqi VP meets with Kurdistan's PM on draft oil law, Kirkuk

(Voices of Iraq) - Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi met with Kurdistan Prime Minister Negervan al-Barazani on oil draft law and Kirkuk in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Mahdi's office said on Wednesday. "Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi discussed with Iraq's Kurdistan Premier Negervan al-Barazani several political, security and economic issues, including oil draft law and the implementation of the Iraqi constitution's Article 140 on normalizing the situation in Kirkuk city," Mahdi's office said in a statement received by the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
Iraqi cabinet adopted a draft law on oil investment in Iraq including Kurdistan region and sent it to the Iraqi parliament for debate and voting. The proposed law gives the central government in Baghdad more powers to control investment contracts of oil in the country, a matter rejected by Kurds who demand more jurisdictions be given to the local government when conducting contracts with companies concerning oil in the region.
Also the Kurds urged Iraqi leaders to implement Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution regarding the statues of oil-rich-Kirkuk. Kurds claim that the former regime had changed the demographic distribution of the population by alluring more Arabs to settle in Kirkuk and drive out Kurds during 70-80s. Article 140 stipulates that situation in Kirkuk should be normalized as it was before the alleged Arab migration to the city, to conduct a census and to hold a referendum to decide whether or not the city would join Kurdistan region.
Kirkuk, 250 km northeast of Baghdad, is a mixed city of Arabs, Kurds and Torkmans.
According to the statement, Abdul Mahdi said "we have no differences as to the agreed principles but we need to work out solid mechanisms to secure the good implementation of the article." The meeting also touched upon issues related to the budget of the Kurdish local fighters (Peshmerga) within the Iraqi national budget, the statement added.
"Both sides stressed the importance of continuing concerted efforts to gain security and stability as well as supporting the ongoing political process in the country," the statement added. Abdul Mahdi, according to the statement, said "we should adhere at the mechanisms set up by the constitution to solve all disputable issues."

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