BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday pressed the case for the central government in Baghdad to receive the income from Kurdistan’s oilfields, saying the money would be used to pay Kurdish civil servants.
Seeking to control the oil income from the autonomous Kurdish region is central to Abadi’s strategy after the Kurdish referendum on independence held on Monday.
The Kurdistan Regional Government said it plans to use the vote, which delivered an overwhelming yes for independence, as a mandate to seek the peaceful secession of the Kurdish region through talks with Abadi’s government.
Abadi, who rejects any talks with the Kurds on independence, wrote in a tweet: “Federal government control of oil revenues is in order to pay KR (Kurdistan Region) employee salaries in full.”
No other statement was forthcoming from the government. It was not clear whether Baghdad had had any success in taking control of oil income from the Kurdish region in the north of Iraq, which for years has kept oil revenue and paid Kurdish civil servants.
Abadi on Thursday said Turkey had told Iraq it would deal
only with the Iraqi government on crude oil exports. Iraqi Kurdish crude oil is exported to world markets through a pipeline to Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
Baghdad imposed a ban on direct international flights to the Kurdish region on Friday.
Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Stephen Powell