“Our policy on this issue has been clear,” Marie Harf said. “Iraq’s energy resources belong to all of the Iraqi people. These questions should be resolved in a manner consistent with the Iraqi constitution.”
WASHINGTON DC—Deputy Spokesperson for the US State Department, Marie Harf, said on Thursday that the United States doesn’t have a ban on oil sales from any part of Iraq and that Iraqis have to come to an agreement on energy issues to avoid “any legal ramifications”.
“There is no US ban on the transfer or sale of oil originated from any part of Iraq,” Harf told Namo Abdulla, Rudaw’s Washington correspondent.
“Our policy on this issue has been clear,” Harf added. “Iraq’s energy resources belong to all of the Iraqi people. These questions should be resolved in a manner consistent with the Iraqi constitution.”
These comments resonated with a statement by federal magistrate Nancy K. Johnson who said on Wednesday that the dispute over a ship carrying Kurdish oil and currently offshore Texas should be resolved in Iraq between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan autonomous region.
On Monday, the judge issued an order for US Marshals to seize the one million barrels of crude from the United Kalavrvta, but later decided that was not enforceable.
In response to another journalist who said if the Kurdish oil doesn’t go through the central government it would be considered illegal, Harf said, “This is not a legal issue, it is a policy issue.”
“The US has told different parties in Iraq that if they attempt to do things that we have seen recently, there could be legal ramifications,” she added.
For their part, Kurdish authorities stress that their oil exports is legal and consistent with the Iraqi constitution.
Kurdistan Region’s Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami said on Wednesday that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has misrepresented the case of Kurdistan’s oil shipment to the authorities in Texas.
“The KRG’s lawyers sent a letter to a court in Texas to explain the misrepresentations of the Iraqi federal government,” said Hawrami in a statement on the KRG website.
“The Iraqi federal government has petitioned a Texas court for an order to seize crude oil legally produced, exported, and sold by the KRG in accordance with the Iraqi constitution and law. The letter indicates the possibility of massive counterclaims against the federal government,” he said.
Hawrami said that the Iraqi government is trying to manipulate the law regarding Kurdistan’s right to export its oil.
“The federal government of Iraq is trying to achieve in foreign courts and in the Iraqi Supreme Court what is denied to the federal government by the Iraqi constitution,” Hawrami said.