Erbil is resolutely determined to proceed with the development and export of its crude oil without being subjected to Iraqi government control, though it does not wish to secede from the federation, says Mr Bakir, whose official title is head of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

“We voluntarily decided to be part of Iraq, an Iraq that is federal, democratic, pluralistic, an Iraq that agrees on power sharing and wealth sharing. An Iraq that should adhere to the constitution,” Mr Bakir says, speaking to MEES in Erbil. But, he says, it should be clear that Iraq is no longer governed by a central government but by a federal system. “We want Baghdad to understand that they cannot dictate on us. We are partners and we should be equal partners. We are entitled to these rights and we will do this on behalf of Iraq as a whole. So long as we are committed to the principles of the constitution, that state clearly oil and gas belongs to all the people of Iraq in all the regions and the governorates and the revenues are to be shared equally with the Iraqi people. We have no problem with that. The problem is that if Baghdad thinks that they have to decide everything, they have to control everything, they have to dictate us, it’s over.” (CONTINUED - 1783 WORDS)