Iraqi PM chastises Kurdish authorities over withholding pay

Iraq's prime minister has chastised local authorities in the self-ruled northern Kurdish region for allegedly not paying salaries to government employees in the region even though the north exports oil independently to the international market.

Haider al-Abadi told the state-run TV late on Monday that he'd pay the salaries himself if the Kurds hand over their oil to Baghdad.

Iraq's central government and the Kurds have long been at loggerheads over oil exports and plummeting oil prices have exacerbated the situation, along with Baghdad's move in 2014 to withhold the Kurds' 17 percent in federal budget.

Last month, Iraqi Kurdish oil exports through Turkey averaged 601,811 barrels per day, including oil produced from fields in Kirkuk city, which the Kurds took from Islamic State militants.