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Kurdish government demands Iraq oil minister resign over contracts comments

[JURIST] Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) [official website] Thursday called for the resignation of Iraq Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani in response to Shahristani's remarks that oil contracts signed by the KRG with several global companies are illegal. At a Tuesday meeting [press release] of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) [organization website], Shahristani contended the contracts are illegal because the Iraqi Parliament has not yet passed a controversial oil law [JURIST news archive]. The KRG last month adopted the "Kurdistan Oil and Gas Law" [JURIST report] after KRG Prime Minister Nechervan Idris Barzani [official profile] signed legislation that will allow the Kurdish government to control its own oil resources and select its own foreign investors. The Kurdish government says that the law, which requires the KRG to share oil revenues with the Iraqi federal government and other regions, is consistent with the Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive].

The national draft oil revenue bill has been delayed by successive legislative boycotts and is a source of tension [JURIST reports] between different ethnic factions in the Iraqi parliament. Sunni politicians have pushed for federal control over oil revenues and approval rights for foreign development, while Kurds have been adamant about retaining domestic control over oil resources. AFP has more.

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