Australia PM says No troops if Iraq oil law not approved

Australia's leader has told Iraq's prime minister that he'll withdraw troops from the coalition if Iraq doesn't approve a draft oil law.

Australia PM says No troops if Iraq oil law not approved
Australia's leader has told Iraq's prime minister that he'll withdraw troops from the coalition if Iraq doesn't approve a draft oil law.

The law, which is highly controversial, is being promoted by the Bush administration as a way toward reconciliation in the highly factionalized country. The thought is if political and other leaders can decide how to compromise on sharing the wealth from Iraq's vast oil reserves, they can also compromise on issues that are leading the country toward fracture and civil war.

The oil law Bush, and now Australian Prime Minister John Howard, are begging for, however, doesn't divvy up the revenue from oil -- that will be handled in a separate revenue-sharing law. The draft oil law actually decides the extent of federalism in exploration, development and production of the third-largest oil reserve in the world, as well as how much access foreign oil companies will have, among other issues that are proving hard to find agreement on between the competing demands of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

"If the Iraqis fail to make progress, the support for Australia's military deployment to Iraq may not be sustainable," Howard said in a letter delivered to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki by the ambassador to Iraq, Mark Innes Brown, the Voices of Iraq news agency reports.

Australia has 1,500 troops in Iraq, but its leadership is pressed to reduce that. Howard meets with President Bush this week in Sydney.

UPI
Last Mod: 15 Ağustos 2007, 10:24
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