One Step Closer

Iraq cabinet endorses landmark draft oil law
By Claudia Parsons and Mariam Karouny Mon Feb 26, 3:59 PM ET

BAGHDAD/BEIRUT (Reuters) –
Iraq’s cabinet on Monday endorsed a draft oil law crucial to regulating how wealth from the country’s vast oil reserves will be shared by its ethnic and sectarian groups, a move hailed as a major political milestone.

Passing a law to help settle potentially explosive disputes over the world’s third largest oil reserves has been a key demand of the United States, which has linked it to continuing support for the Shi’ite-led national unity government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih told Reuters that Iraq’s leaders had pledged to have the law enacted by the end of May. The draft has to be approved by parliament first.

“The political leadership have committed to have the law and other associated laws and regulations be implemented by the end of May 2007 — admittedly tough, and a grueling schedule, but economic and political imperatives of the country require all of us to rise to the challenge,” Salih said.

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