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Iraqi Prime Minister to Visit Washington; Kurdish Oil Exports High on Agenda

Gulan Media April 3, 2024 News
Iraqi Prime Minister to Visit Washington; Kurdish Oil Exports High on Agenda

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani is set to embark on his maiden visit to Washington on April 15, marking the first-ever meeting between him and U.S. President Joe Biden. The rendezvous holds significant diplomatic weight as it aims to address pivotal issues, foremost among them the resumption of Kurdish oil exports.

The backdrop to this crucial discussion dates back to March 2023 when Kurdish oil exports, facilitated via the pipeline to Ceyhan, Turkey, ceased following an international court ruling favoring Baghdad's assertion of authority over such exports. Despite the passage of a year, the pipeline remains dormant, prompting calls for swift resolution from stakeholders, including the Association of the Petroleum Industry of Kurdistan (APIKUR).

With Sudani's impending visit, pressure mounts on both sides of the table. The U.S. administration, according to a read-out, has been actively engaged in securing Kurdish oil exports, viewing it as mutually advantageous. This sentiment was echoed by State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, who emphasized the importance of resuming oil flows through the pipeline, citing potential benefits for all parties involved.

Ahead of Sudani's arrival, diplomatic maneuvering intensified as Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein recently visited Washington, with discussions emphasizing the need for improved relations with Erbil and the urgency of renewing Kurdish oil exports. Such sentiments underscored the strategic imperative for Iraq to pursue energy independence, thereby alleviating dependence on imports, notably from Iran.

In light of these developments, anticipation mounts regarding the effectiveness of Washington's diplomatic overtures in securing Baghdad's agreement. The upcoming meeting between Sudani and President Biden holds the promise of charting a path toward resolution, with Kurdish oil exports poised to dominate the agenda and shape the trajectory of bilateral relations between the two nations.

The eyes of the international community are trained on Washington as it prepares to host the Iraqi Prime Minister, amidst hopes for a breakthrough in addressing the protracted impasse over Kurdish oil exports.

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