Iraqi Kurds agree on oil revenue sharing measure

Iraqi officials said Friday that a US-backed oil law proposal will soon be returned to the Cabinet for approval after Kurdish leaders agreed to a compromise revenue sharing measure, although many key sticking points are unresolved and not addressed in a much-watered down piece of legislation. The bill called for two accounts to be established, one in which revenues from oil exports would be deposited and another consisting of customs and taxes. The central government in Baghdad would take from the accounts what its needs to cover the national budget while the rest would be distributed among Iraqi governates and regions, according to the draft, which was posted on the Kurdish government's Web site. The self-governing Kurdish region in northern Iraq would get 17 percent of net revenue and the rest would be distributed according to population elsewhere in the country "to meet the needs of the governates not organized as regions," the regional government said in a statement. "The distribution of the revenue shall be monthly and automatic, which will achieve a just and fair allocation for every part of the country whether it has oil or not," it said.