Iraqi Oil Resources Back in Government Hands
18:46 30.11.2014(updated 21:41 30.11.2014)
The Iraqi oil minister says that IS has suffered significant losses in recent weeks.
MOSCOW, November 30 (Sputnik) – The Iraqi Oil Minister has said in interview with the Telegraph that Iraqi security forces have made significant gains against IS, and regained control of vital oil resources including the country's biggest refinery in Baiji.
"Now we are gaining a lot of territory back," Adel Abdul Mehdi told the newspaper. "They are being pushed back and they no longer have a stronghold. On the ground the security forces are doing very well. We also have good support coming from the air by the allies, the US and the British. They are doing a good job in certain areas. IS has taken a lot of losses in the last few weeks."
Abdul Mehdi is a political veteran and former Iraqi finance minister, who took the oil portfolio in September after a new Iraqi government was formed following the departure of previous Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. He said that as well as military strikes, the new government was working towards political reform: "Security measures are important but more important is the political support and solidarity. With the change in the government and advocating the new policies we can see the positive impact on security."
The minister said that it was vital for Iraq to tackle corruption and improve its governance: "Corruption is not only stealing money but also the ways that things are done. We waste a lot of money, which has to stop," he told the interviewer, adding that he was hopeful of more foreign investment from international oil companies.
Abdul Mehdi was speaking in Vienna after the meeting of OPEC's 12 members, who November 27 announced their decision not to cut production and push up oil prices. He told the WSJ last week that current oil prices are "not acceptable," and Iraq would prefer action to support prices, but that OPEC unity was most important.
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