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Statement by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq

THU, 16 FEB 2012 13:52 | KRG Cabinet

Dr. Rowsch Nuri Shaways
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
Federal Republic of Iraq

Statement by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq

In the last few days, some media outlets have reported statements by federal Iraqi government officials related to the oil contract with Exxon Mobil and a potential contract with Total. These statements have drawn the attention of many local and foreign media, which have contacted us for an explanation.

In light of this, we would like to clarify the following points:

According to the Iraqi constitution, the oil and all the natural resources that exist in Iraq are national wealth that belongs to all Iraqi people, living in all of the regions and provinces of Iraq. This wealth should be used to increase the well-being and prosperity of all the people of Iraq. Therefore, such agreements should be a joint effort between everyone in Iraq and no individual group should single-handedly decide on how these resources are used.

In our view, these statements, especially those that threaten renowned international investment companies working in the Kurdistan Region, could lead to companies being reluctant to work in all of Iraq, and they will portray a negative image to investors across all sectors. This contradicts the general policies of economic openness, the promotion of trade and attracting foreign direct investment in order to provide better services to the people of Iraq, who have suffered for decades from closed centralized economic policies that have led to widespread poverty, destitution and deprivation.

In addition, such statements lead to increased disputes between the political parties and to the accumulation of new problems at a time when we need to think and work together in order to solve the problems that already exist—especially as we are building up a new democracy, which is what all the political and national components of Iraq want.

As it is in democratic and developed countries throughout the world, such problems are best solved through working together, and through dialogue and communication. This mutual effort would lead to the development of all the various sectors, including the oil industry, and to increasing production through the use of reputable international companies who already have significant experience in this field. And, this would benefit all of Iraq’s people.

We call for the swift passage of the hydrocarbons law, as soon as possible, in a manner consistent with the constitution, which was ratified by the majority of Iraq’s people. This law will pave the way for overcoming the problems and disputes in this important sector.

This is a translation of the statement that was released in Arabic on 14 February 2012