February 25, 2013 - 20:21 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey has told Iraq it will reject any extension
of oil and gas pipelines from Kurdistan without the approval of
the Baghdad government, Iraq's oil minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi was
quoted as saying by the state media network on Monday, February 25,
Reuters reported.

Iraq's Arab-led central government and the Kurdistan regional
government (KRG), run by ethnic Kurds, are in a long-running dispute
over how to exploit the country's crude reserves and divide the

Baghdad says it alone has the authority to control export of the
world's fourth largest oil reserves, while the Kurds say their right to
do so is enshrined in Iraq's federal constitution, drawn up following
the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.

"Turkey has officially informed Iraq it rejects extending oil and gas
export pipelines from the Kurdistan region to pass through Turkey
without approval from federal government," the network quoted the
minister as saying.

Kurdistan's Minister for Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami said earlier
this month the autonomous region was pressing ahead with plans to
build its own oil export pipeline to Turkey, despite objections from
the United States, which fears the project could lead to the break-up
of Iraq.

Resource-hungry Turkey has heavily courted Iraqi Kurds, straining
ties with the Iraqi central government.

Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki's media advisor Ali al-Moussawi said
Turkey's rejection of the pipeline would help enhance bilateral
relations between Ankara and Baghdad, which have deteriorated over
the past year.

Ankara has been locked in a war of words with Maliki, a Shi'ite,
since December 2011, when he ordered the arrest of his Sunni Vice
President Tareq al-Hashemi, who took refuge in Kurdistan before
fleeing to Turkey.