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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sunni clerics group attacks Iraq's draft oil law

06 Mar 2007 14:31:47 GMT
Source: Reuters
• Iraq in turmoil

BAGHDAD, March 6 (Reuters) - An influential Sunni Arab group criticised Iraq's long awaited oil investment law on Tuesday, accusing the United States and Britain of invading the country out of greed for its vast oil wealth.

Iraq's cabinet agreed a draft of the law last month after months of wrangling, sending it to parliament for final approval.

The law sets out how oil revenues will be divided among the population and regulates how foreign companies will be able to invest in exploration and production.

Iraqi and U.S. officials have said the law will be a crucial ingredient for Iraqi reconciliation. It states that oil revenues will be spread evenly according to population around the country rather than staying in the region where the oil is found.

Sunni Arabs have long feared that Shi'ites and ethnic Kurds, who sit on top of Iraq's vast oil fields, will not share the country's wealth in an even way.

The Muslim Scholars Association, a leading Sunni clerics group accused by the Iraqi government of fomenting violence, said the law as drafted was "invalid and lacks legitimacy".



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