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Maliki Puts Kurds on Spot Over Oil Payments

After the Iraqi Council of Representatives passed its 2013 budget law despite a boycott by Kurdish parliamentarians, the Kurdistan Regional Government is struggling to determine how it will pay foreign oil contracts, writes Abdel Hamid Zebari.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (L) speaks next to Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani during a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad May 8, 2012. On top right hangs a picture of Iraq's President Jalal Talabani. REUTERS/Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/Handout (IRAQ - Tags: POLITICS) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY
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Through the ratification of the Iraqi Public Budget Law for the year 2013 in parliament based on the principle of "majority" rather than "consensus" — amid a Kurdish boycott of the parliamentary session — it seems that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has put difficult choices before the Iraqi Kurds, which may manifest in the coming days.

The Iraqi parliament approved on Thursday [March 7] the country’s general budget of $119 billion. The session was boycotted by Kurdish deputies, and had been delayed for weeks due to several disagreements, most notably over the payments of foreign oil companies operating in the Kurdistan region.

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