Minister Ali al-Dabbagh, Iraqi Government Spokesman, was interviewed by Padraig O'Hannelly for Iraq Business News at last week's Iraq Mining 2011 conference in London. The first part of the interview can be found here.
In this second part of the interview, Dr al-Dabbagh discusses the Hydrocarbon Law, the valuation of the Iraqi dinar, foreign investment in Iraq, and the future of his country:
Iraq Business News: I'd like to ask you about the hydrocarbon law that is currently with the parliament. The Kurdish side has disagreed with the current wording of that. Do you see a possible resolution that would eventually see Kurdish oil contracts being recognised by Baghdad?
Dr Ali al-Dabbagh: It is too early to say that recognition could be achieved for the oil contracts in Kurdistan. First of all, the oil law is going to be subjected to, I think, long debate, lengthy debate in the parliament, because still it is controversial, but in the end we do need that hydrocarbon law – we can't continue without it. We would like to advise that the structure of the parliament is not as in 2007/2008, so by voting a simple majority could be achieved, so we'd like to ask all of the figures in the parliament to look after the common interest, not to their interests, so the Kurdistan contracts need to comply fully to the oil law.
IBN: We hear a lot from foreign companies about difficulties and delays getting investment licences, also difficulties bringing expats into the country to work – what is your policy with regard to that, and what do you plan to do to ease the way for foreign companies coming into Iraq?