Statement by Iraqi Deputy PM on Oil Contracts

Statement by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Dr Rowsch Shaways:

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.

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