Iraq moves to halt oil deal by U.S. Exxon with Kurds: report
Baghdad, June 20 (Xinhua-ANI): Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki is moving to halt a contract between U.S. oil company Exxon Mobile and Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, warning that such deal could ignite "wars," an Iraqi official newspaper reported Wednesday.
"Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki moves now to prevent a deal for oil investment in the disputed areas in Nineveh province between Exxon Mobile, (and) Kurdistan and the governor of the province," the state-run al-Sabah newspaper quoted Maliki's advisor Ali al- Mussawi as saying.
Mussawi said Maliki warned that such oil contracts between the U.S. firm and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) "represents a very dangerous move that may lead the country to wars and breaking up Iraq's unity."
He confirmed that Maliki is ready "to go to the farthest limits to preserve the national wealth, and the necessary transparency in investing the Iraqis' wealth, particularly oil."
Mussawi also said that Maliki "sent a message to the President of United States Barack Obama, urging him to intervene to prevent Exxon Mobile to go through with such a course."
The Iraqi government received information confirming that there is a sort of deal with the governor of Nineveh province Atheel al- Nujaifi, which stated that the province would concede an oil-rich border area of a 10-km depth to the Kurdish region, in return the province could be part of the agreement between Exxon Mobile and the region, Mussawi said.
Last year, Exxon Mobile signed energy contracts with the KRG, breaking a ban imposed earlier by Baghdad against any foreign firm signing energy deals with the Kurdistan region without going through the central government, which Baghdad says is the only side that has the right to sign oil contracts.
For its part, the Iraqi oil ministry has notified the U.S. oil firm of its stance to reject signing such oil deals with the KRG, stressing that all oil deals signed earlier by the KRG are invalid. (Xinhua-ANI)
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