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Baghdad Accuses Kurdish Region of Withholding Oil Payments

Baghdad has accused the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq of withholding billions of dollars in oil payments.

Iraqi authorities said on April 2 that Kurdish officials are smuggling crude oil and petroleum products for sale abroad under unilateral deals.

The accusations come amid a dispute about oil export payments meant to be shared under a deal between Baghdad and Kurdish regional officials.

On April 1, the Kurds halted oil exports that pass through Baghdad-administered territory, saying the Iraqi government has failed to send any money to them since May -- even though the region had been exporting 50,000 barrels of oil per day.

Tensions between Baghdad and the Kurdish region have risen since October when Exxon-Mobil announced an oil exploration deal in the Kurdish-administered north.

Baghdad dismisses the deal as illegal.

With reporting by Reuters, AP