The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq has spoken out against a draft oil law designed to distribute oil revenues among Iraq's Sunni Arabs, Shi'ites and Kurds.

The Kurdistan government's resources minister said changes made in the draft law would reduce the powers of the region and should be opposed.  He was speaking Wednesday to a session of the regional parliament in Irbil.

Last week, the Iraqi cabinet unanimously approved the draft, but parliament must approve the bill for it to become law.

Several political groups have criticized the legislation.  The Shi'ite bloc loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr rejected the draft, and the Sunni Accordance Front also expressed misgivings about the bill.

The United States considers passage of the oil law a key step toward national reconciliation in Iraq.

Most of Iraq's oil is located in the mainly Kurdish north and the predominantly Shi'ite south.  Kurds and Shi'ites are eager to control the resources they were largely deprived of under Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated rule.  Sunni Arabs are pressing for greater central control over the oil industry.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.