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Kurds claim win in oil export row

U.S. sides with Baghdad on the issue.

By Daniel J. Graeber

ERBIL, Iraq, June 27 (UPI) -- The federal government in Baghdad should give up its effort to prevent oil exports from the Kurdish region of Iraq, the semiautonomous government said Friday.

The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources said a federal court ruled against the government in a case filed from Baghdad against Kurdish oil exports from Turkey.

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The court, the ministry said, ruled Baghdad's efforts to prevent Kurdish oil exports lacked legal justification.

"Now we call upon the federal Oil Ministry, State Organization for Marketing of Oil and all their helpers to abandon their illegal and unconstitutional interventions to prevent oil exports from the Kurdistan Region," the ministry said Friday.

The federal Oil Ministry issued a statement Monday denouncing the sale of Kurdish oil to Israel. It said such exports were illegal unless the Kurdish government had explicit approval from the ministry and the federal government.

The U.S. government backed Baghdad's position earlier this week. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said any oil export or sale "has to happen with the appropriate approval of the federal Iraqi government."

The Kurdish government has sent two shipments of oil from the Turkish sea port of Ceyhan so far this year.

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