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Iraq Kurdish lawmakers to vote against draft oil bill

[JURIST] Kurdish legislators in the Iraq National Assembly [official website, in Arabic] will vote against a draft law [JURIST report; JURIST news archive] to regulate the country's oil because some provisions of the bill violate a February agreement with Kurdish lawmakers, a Kurdish official said Monday. In February, the Kurds agreed to support the draft bill [JURIST report] after lengthy negotiations [JURIST report], but the bill was since amended to give almost 93% of Iraq's proven oil reserves to the state-owned Iraq National Oil Company.

Negotiations over the legislation have been a source of tension [JURIST report] in Iraq for months as Kurds are adamant about retaining control of Iraq's oil resources [Global Policy backgrounder] in the northern regions. Other government leaders pressed to give the central Iraqi government control over oil revenues and approval rights for any contracts with other countries or international companies to pump oil, since oil revenues are the main source of income to Iraq [JURIST news archive]. Many see the passing of the law as crucial to developing the country as independent from American influence and the Bush administration has been a key proponent of the law. Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani had predicted [JURIST report] the National Assembly would pass the law this month. AP has more.

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