By John Lee.
Protestors took to the streets of Basra for the fourth day on Wednesday, protesting the killing of a demonstrator by security forces, and demanding jobs and public services.
According to AFP, protesters also blocked the road leading to the oilfields of West Qurna, while international oil companies (IOCs) have reportedly moved senior staff out of the area for their security.
On Tuesday, the Cabinet approved measures to improve the delivery of essential public services in Basra province, with a focus on improving the supply of electricity to homes and businesses.
It also "instructed Iraq’s embassies, consulates and all border entry points to apply new visa and residency fees for foreign nationals seeking to enter Iraq".
The Cabinet voted to establish a specialist committee staffed by teams from the Planning and the Construction & Housing Ministries to assess the value of resuming several incomplete or suspended projects, and instructed the Ministry of Finance to speed up the allocation of funds for projects that are deemed suitable for completion.
Meanwhile, Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] ordered "secondary contractor companies in West Qurna oil field to provide new jobs for the citizens of the neighbor towns near to the field", and to "provide additional jobs for the citizens of Shatt Al-Arab district and the other towns".
"Otherwise", he added, "the Ministry will take the appropriate procedures towards the companies that violates the directions".
(Sources: AFP, Iraqi Cabinet, Ministry of Oil)
(Picture credit: Ahmed Mahmoud)