Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Rosh Nuri Shawish announced on Thursday the leadership of the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is ready to restart negotiations with Baghdad to end a political crisis.
The positive tone from Shawish, an Iraqi Kurd, signalled a thaw in relations between the Shia-dominated central government and self-governed Kurdistan which have been locked into a dispute over oil, territory and power-sharing.
“Approving this draft and adding some amendments which are agreed on by all parties … is the proper way to resolve this,” the deputy prime minister, one of the go-betweens for talks between Baghdad and Erbil, said in an interview.
Shawish said Kurdish officials had met with the head of the ruling Shi’ite National Alliance, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, for preliminary talks, and the atmosphere had improved enough for them to see room for progress.
Shawish told Reuters KRG believes the oil disputes can be resolved through an amended 2007 draft of an oil and gas law, which all parties had agreed to previously.
Kurdistan has tested Baghdad’s resolve for months by signing deals with foreign oil majors, such as Exxon and Chevron, contracts the central government rejects as illegal and part of a Kurdish push for more autonomy.