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Kurd Government Warns: We’ll Separate from Iraq

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is threatening to separate itself from the Iraqi state if the federal government will insist on interfering with decisions regarding oil development in Kurdistan.
In an interview with the Iraqi daily A-‘Sabah published on September 24, Iraq’s Oil Minister Hussein Shahristani said his ministry was not committed to investment contracts signed by the KRG. Shahristani added his ministry would review the terms of the signed contracts.
In response, prime minister of the KRG, Nechirvan Barzani, stated on September 27 that these comments suggested Shahristani was not committed to Iraq’s constitution.
"The constitution gives [Iraq’s] regions all powers not stipulated in the exclusive powers of the federal government. Oil and gas are not among the exclusive powers of the federal government," stated Barzani.
The Kurdish region in northern Iraq was given autonomy after the ousting of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003. The Kurds then chose to be in a "voluntary union" with Iraq on the basis of the constitution.
"If Baghdad ministers refuse to abide by that constitution, the people of Kurdistan reserve the right to reconsider our choice," Barzani said in his statement.
Since 2003, foreign companies have invested more than $100m in exploration activities in Kurdistan. The region was neglected during Saddam Hussein’s rule, and now the local government hopes to develop it to the benefit of its Kurdish population.