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Bagdad to restart oil flow to Turkey after Arbil deal

Iraq’s government will restart the transport of oil to Turkey for the first time since March after it settled a long-lasting revenue row with the regional Kurdish government last week, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said at an energy conference in Rome on Nov. 19.

“The central Iraqi government will restart its oil shipment with 150,000 barrels per day,” the minister said, answering reporters’ questions at the Building a Euro-Mediterranean Energy Bridge conference in the Italian capital.

When asked about the timing of the restart, the minister replied, “We will begin any day.”

Baghdad’s oil shipments to Turkey were suspended in March due to several technical setbacks amid a heated dispute between the central and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Baghdad had been opposing the Kurds’ plan to export oil via an independent pipeline, which would link up with an Iraqi pipeline at the Turkish border and terminate at the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

Iraq and the KRG came to an agreement to resolve the long-standing conflict of oil exports and re-establish trust on Nov. 14.

“Income from oil contributes toward the stability of Iraq, and we [Turkey] argued from the beginning that it belongs to all of Iraq, both north and south. Turkey has done its share of work to form and protect such a system,” Yıldız said.

Need for cooperation in Cyprus

On the separate issue regarding the island of Cyprus, Yıldız said energy resources around Cyprus belong to both Greek and Turkish Cypriot authorities.

Yıldız stressed the need for cooperation and a political structure in the eastern Mediterranean that could ensure economic feasibility.

Greek Cyprus suspended talks over the divided island on Oct. 7.

Negotiations between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013. The previous round of talks had collapsed, partly because of the impact of the eurozone debt crisis on the government in Nicosia.

According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will visit Athens on Dec. 5 and 6 to attend a bilateral cooperation meeting.

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