New oil talks, but no sign of compromise

A committee will try to address Iraq's long-standing oil disputes, but key leaders in Baghdad and Erbil are entrenched in their positions.
New oil talks, but no sign of compromise
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left) and Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani give a joint press conference in Erbil on June 9, 2013. (PATRICK OSGOOD/Iraq Oil Report/Metrography)

LONDON - As the Iraqi central government and the autonomous Kurdistan region begin another attempt to harmonize their separate oil sectors, there is little sign that either side is prepared to compromise on the core issues that have animated their long-standing disputes.

A high-level committee is now preparing to meet for negotiations over national oil and revenue sharing laws, after a landmark meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani appeared to create some political space for renewed dialogue. But leaders on both sides of Iraq's oil debates have recently indicated that on the most fundamental questions affecting oil policy – including contracting authority, export rights, and territorial boundaries – they are not willing to concede ground.

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