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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Ali Hussein Balo
An Iraqi Kurdish official said on Tuesday that the country's self-ruled northern Kurdish region has suspended oil exports over a payment row with Baghdad, a development that could add to already souring relations between the Kurds and the Arab-led central government.
Iraq's Kurds said Tuesday they won't resume oil exports from their self-ruled territory unless the central government recognizes the contracts Kurds have already signed with international energy companies.
However, Ali Hussein Balo, the adviser of the Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources, said Baghdad sent only about $550 million and withheld the rest.
"Baghdad wants everything free of charge," Mr. Balo said by phone from Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. "We can't do that since we are committed to the companies to have a share in the produced oil."