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Revised Iraq draft oil law going before parliament

[JURIST] The Iraqi Cabinet has approved a revised draft oil law [JURIST news archive] and the Iraqi Parliament will begin debating the proposal Wednesday, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Tuesday. Several amendments to the draft law were made after an earlier version of the law was opposed in parliament [JURIST report]. Kurdish lawmakers said in April that they would vote against [JURIST report] the law because some provisions of the bill violated an earlier agreement. The Kurds first agreed to support the draft bill [JURIST report] after lengthy negotiations [JURIST report], but the bill was later amended to give almost 93 percent of Iraq's proven oil reserves to the state-owned Iraq National Oil Company.

The Iraqi government spokesperson did not specify what new amendments have been made to the draft law, but said that Cabinet approval was unanimous. 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 have pushed for giving 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]. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

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