A US delegation has visited Iraq's Kurdistan Region to discuss issues including an ongoing oil dispute between the semi-autonomous region and Baghdad's central government.
Kurdistan is going ahead with its unilateral oil exports via Turkey, despite opposition by Baghdad and Washington. Its United Leadership Tanker has left Morocco several days ago, after making a u-turn in the Atlantic Ocean. Reports say the tanker moved into international waters without unloading, with two Turkish government sources saying that the oil has remained unsold. Kurdish officials, however, have denied the reports. Kurdistan's regional government has also denied reports that it's selling crude cheaply. It says that it needs oil sales for its annual expenditure, and that the business is in accordance with Iraq's constitution. Baghdad denies this, saying that the constitution gives it the sole right to sell oil. Iraqi officials also say that Kurdistan is selling unknown amounts of cut-price oil. In the meantime, Kurdistan's regional Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has denied that the region's oil exports are a prelude to independence from Baghdad. Iraq holds Turkey responsible for facilitating the oil sales from Kurdistan. Last month, Iraq launched legal action against Turkey, after shipments began. Kurdistan's oil exports were supposed to give the region the upper hand in this long-running dispute. But some observers are now asking if Baghdad's legal threats have warded off potential buyers.