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Iraqi parliament receives draft oil revenue bill

[JURIST] The Iraqi Parliament on Wednesday received a draft oil law [JURIST news archive] that would regulate how profits from the country's oil wells will be shared by the different ethnic groups in the country. President Bush has said he believes that the agreement will help to end violence in Iraq, and has urged Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to see the measure approved. Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said Wednesday that political parties in Iraq have agreed to work on enacting the law by the end of May.

Kurdish legislators in the Iraqi National Assembly [official website, in Arabic] said Monday that they will vote against the draft law [JURIST reports] because some provisions of the bill violate a February agreement with Kurdish lawmakers. 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 percent 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]. Reuters has more.

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