Iraq Plans Tough Steps Against Kurdistan, Oil Firms

Source: Reuters 1/16/2013, Location: Middle East

Iraq plans tough measures against the country's Kurdistan region and foreign oil companies working there to stop "illegal" crude exports in an escalation of its standoff with the autonomous enclave, the oil minister said in an interview.

Oil exports and contracts are at the heart of a wider dispute over territory, oilfields and political autonomy between Baghdad's Arab-led government and Kurdistan, where ethnic Kurds run their own regional administration.

Abdul Kareem Luaibi said Baghdad intends to sue Genel Energy - the first company to export oil directly from Kurdistan - and may slash the government's allocated budget to the region unless it halts what he rejected as smuggling.

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