BEIRUT

Middle East

Iraq's Maliki warns Kurds of funding cuts

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki speaks during a political meeting attended by members of the army and political leaders to talk about the ongoing fighting between the Iraqi army and al-Qaeda-linked groups in the Anbar province, on January 11, 2014, in Baghdad. AFP PHOTO/SABAH ARAR

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki threatened on Sunday to cut central government funding for Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region if the Kurds pursued a drive to pipe oil exports to Turkey without Baghdad's approval. 

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said last week that crude had begun to flow to Turkey and exports were expected to start at the end of this month and then rise in February and March. 

"This is a constitutional violation which we will never allow, not for the (Kurdistan) region nor for the Turkish government," Maliki told Reuters in an interview.

He reiterated Baghdad's insistence that only the central government has the authority to manage Iraq's energy resources.

"Turkey must not interfere in an issue that harms Iraqi sovereignty," Maliki said.

The central government and the Kurds differ over how to interpret the constitution's references to oil and how revenues should be shared. The Kurdish share was set at 17 percent after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, although the Kurds frequently complain that they get less than that.

 

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