Turkey to Organize Meeting Between Baghdad, Kurdistan Over Oil Deal

3-12-2013 – ARBIL, Iraq (Xinhua) — Turkey is trying to organize a meeting between Baghdad and Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan to defuse a row over Ankara’s energy deal to import oil and gas from the region, a Turkish official said.

“We are trying to organize a meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki and head of Kurdistan regional government Nechirvan Barzani,” Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz said at the opening session of the four-day International Oil and Gas Conference in Arbil, the capital of Kurdistan.

He said the meeting would be held in Arbil, Baghdad or Ankara.

“We stand by the agreement with northern Iraq (Kurdistan) but we hope this can be carried out through a three-way mechanism. We are trying to move this forward in a careful and courteous way,” Taner Yildiz said.

The Turkish energy minister arrived in Arbil on Monday for an energy conference after his visit to Baghdad, where he reportedly met with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussein al- Shahristani on the energy deal.A statement by Shahristani’s office said: “the two sides discussed means to promote economic relations, especially in the field of oil, and ways to settle pending issues in a way to preserve the sovereignty of Iraq and its control on natural wealth. “

It said that Shahristani confirmed that “the oil wealth is protected and it is owned as the property of all Iraqis as stated by the constitution.” He also stressed that “oil exports and imports can only be conducted after being approved by the central government represented by the Iraqi Ministry of Oil.” Last week, Turkey and leader of Kurdistan Nechirvan Barzani signed some deals on exploration and purchase of hydrocarbon resources, Turkish media reported. On Saturday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said that Ankara and Arbil had “agreed on some commercial deals” but had yet to finalize them and that Turkey would seek Baghdad’s cooperation on the issue.