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Northern Kurdish Region Stops Oil Exports Through Baghdad

An Iraqi Kurdish official says the country's self-ruled northern Kurdish region has suspended oil exports because of a payment dispute with Baghdad -- a development that adds pressures to already sour relations between the Kurds and the Arab-led central government.

Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the Kurds have unilaterally struck more than 50 deals with foreign oil companies.

Baghdad says they have no right to do so.

In 2011, the two sides agreed that the Kurds would send the oil to Baghdad to sell it in exchange for part of the revenues.

But Ali Hussein Balo, an adviser of the Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources, told The Associated Press news agency on December 25 that Baghdad is now withholding about $300 million from the $848 million in payments it owes.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

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