US ambassador calls for legislative solution to Erbil-Baghdad oil dispute


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SULAIMANI — The US Ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tueller, said during a conversation with journalists in the Kurdistan Region on Sunday (May 15) that the absence of a law on energy resources and revenue sharing was responsible for the recent tension between Erbil and Baghdad.

Tueller said a law on hydrocarbons and revenue sharing was never implemented following the creation of the Iraqi constitution in 2005. He called for a legislative solution to settle the dispute between the Kurdistan Region and the Iraqi federal government.

He stated the current caretaker government had limited authority to deal with the situation, which could be manipulated by parties or individuals, and said a government in Baghdad was necessary to resolve the issue rather than political parties.

The ambassador said a constitutional process was also supposed to address the issue of areas disputed between the Kurdistan Region and the federal government. He expressed concern over the armed militias operating in Iraq, which he said had sought legitimacy from the government amid the conflict with the Islamic State (ISIS).

"No state can be a normal state where you have weapons and armed groups that are outside the authority and control of the state,” Tueller said. "This is highlighted in what has been going on in Sinjar for some time,” he added, referring to the recent clashes between the Iraqi army and the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) in the district.

Speaking on tension between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Tueller said stability should be preserved and he added he did not believe it was unhealthy for there to be competition between the two parties.

He also pointed out the safety and stability of the Kurdistan Region, referring to its security as "the envy of Iraq.”

Tueller said he was finishing the end of his term as the US ambassador in Baghdad and his replacement, Alina Romanowski, will arrive in June.

(NRT Digital Media)