Iraqi Oil Exports Via Turkey Still Halted
A day after Iraq accepted a new UN agreement for limited exports of its crude oil, the flow via a key Turkish terminal had still not resumed, a spokeswoman for Botas, Turkey's state oil company, said Tuesday.
She said Iraq was continuing to pump crude oil into storage tanks at Turkey's port of Ceyhan, but the oil was going no further.
"At the current rate of flow, the tanks will be full in two days, but Iraq could resume its exports immediately," she said, adding that Botas had no knowledge of any schedule for tankers loading Iraqi oil from the terminal.
On Monday the official Iraqi news agency INA said Iraq had accepted the renewal of the UN oil-for-food accord for another six months, clearing the way for a resumption of crude exports.
Iraqi exports were suspended on December 1, when the previous oil-for-food agreement expired.
The suspension came amid a dispute over a pricing formula for the exports, which are allowed under a sanctions regime put in place after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, in 1990.
The United Nations said Friday that its oil overseers had resolved the dispute after the Security Council approved a renewal on December 5.
"Iraq agrees to the renewal of the humanitarian program for a period of six months," Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf was quoted as saying on Monday, in a message to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
The program, first launched in December 1996, allows Iraq to export crude in sixth-monthly phases to finance imports of essential goods for its 22-million population.
Sahhaf, in his message, kept up Iraq's criticism of the program.
"It is clear that the countries which exercise hegemony over the Security Council are behaving as if the oil-for-food program were an alternative to the lifting of sanctions," he said -- ANKARA (AFP)
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