Smiles, But Not the Words Rice Wanted

Friday, October 06, 2006

Smiles, But Not the Words Rice Wanted

The future of an undivided Iraq rests on the issue of oil revenues -- i.e., ensuring that they are distributed equitably. Yesterday in the Kurdish north of Iraq, Secretary of State Condi Rice was hoping to get the Kurds to buy into such an approach. However:
Rice visited the region's powerful president, Massoud Barzani, less than two weeks after the regional government threatened to break away from Iraq in a dispute over oil.

... Barzani, speaking in Kurdish through an interpreter, said Kurdistan, ''like any other nation, has the right to self-determination.'' However, he said he is committed to a ''federal democratic and pluralistic Iraq.''

For her part, Rice thanked Barzani for the Kurds' long cooperation with the United States .... When he was asked about the future distribution of oil wealth, Barzani did not repeat recent assertions that Kurdistan alone should control new contracts and business arrangements for oil pumped in the region. But at the same time, he gave no endorsement of proposed national legislation on dividing up income from oil.

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