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Following Kurdistan’s referendum on independence that the central Iraqi government is vehemently opposing, Iraq’s Parliament has given “mandate” to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to send troops to the disputed oil-rich region of Kirkuk, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
On Sunday, a day before the vote in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, the central government of Iraq issued a statement calling on “neighboring countries and countries of the world” to stop buying crude oil directly from the Kurdistan Autonomous Region and only deal with Baghdad.
Kurdistan produces just over 600,000 bpd of crude oil, or about 15 percent of Iraq’s total output. Most contentiously are the oilfields around disputed areas in Kirkuk, which the Kurds took control of in 2014 when ISIS burst onto the scene and rapidly seized swathes of territory from the Iraqi government.
The EU, the UN, and the United States have all urged Erbil to cancel the referendum, arguing that it would distract the Kurds from the number-one regional problem: the remains of Islamic State. Regional powers Iran and Turkey have also strongly opposed the vote.
Turkey could cut off the crude oil flow from Kurdistan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, putting further pressure on Kurdistan over what Ankara sees as an illegitimate separatist vote.
Earlier today, al-Abadi demanded that Kurdish authorities “cancel” the outcome of the vote, as a pre-condition to start a dialogue to defuse the crisis.
On Tuesday, the President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, said that Kurdistan had voted “yes” on independence.
Meanwhile, the official twitter account of al-Abadi posted tweets that “Oil revenues in Iraqi Kurdistan must be returned to the control of the federal authorities,” and “All land & air border-crossings in Iraqi Kurdistan must be returned to federal jurisdiction within 3 days.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.