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Baghdad, Kurds Reach Deal On Oil Exports, Payments

Iraqi Oil Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi (left) meets with Iraqi Kurdistan's Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in Irbil, north of Baghdad, on November 13.

Iraq's finance minister says the central government and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan have reached a deal to ease tensions over Kurdish oil exports and civil service payments from Baghdad.

Hoshiyar Zebari said the central government had agreed to resume payments from the federal budget for Kurdish civil servants' salaries.

Zebari, who is a Kurd, described the step as a "major breakthrough."

The Kurdish regional government (KRG) confirmed the agreement.

The deal was reached after talks between Iraqi Oil Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi and Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in the Kurdish region on November 13.

Baghdad stopped paying KRG civil servants' salaries in protest against the Kurds' independent oil exports to Turkey.

Under the agreement, Iraqi Kurdistan will give 150,000 barrels per day of oil exports -- or some half its overall shipments -- to the federal budget.

Baghdad in turn will make a onetime $500 million payment to the KRG.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP