An official Iraqi newspaper voiced hopes Tuesday that OPEC, which is approaching its 40th anniversary, will transform itself into an influential economic bloc to face up to US dominance.
In an article titled "Iraq triumphs, OPEC crushes US hegemony", Al-Jumhuriya said "the upcoming OPEC summit raises great hopes of seeing the organisation transforming itself into an influential economic bloc, equipped with its own bodies."
Iraq is to send a high-ranking delegation grouping several ministers, undersecretaries and experts to Caracas, Venezuela, to take part in the cartel's summit that runs from September 26-28.
It is only the second such meeting since the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries was founded in Baghdad in September 1960. The last took place in Algiers in 1975.
"The peoples of the OPEC member states hope that this meeting will concentrate on fair crude oil prices, steady development and fairer international relations," the paper said.
The summit aims to "defeat the trend of allegiance (towards the United States) at the heart of OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which looks to flood the oil markets and ruin oil revenues," it said.
Al-Jumhuriya said the visit by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Baghdad on August 10 to invite Iraq to the meeting was "recognition of the importance of Iraq, not only as a producer country possessing huge reserves but also as an important political player regionally and internationally."
The visit by Chavez, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the 11-member OPEC, was the first by a head of state since the 1991 Gulf War and aroused the anger of Washington.
Iraq, which has been under embargo since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, is authorised to export crude oil under a programme to finance imports of essential goods under strict UN supervision.
Although an OPEC member, it is exempted from the cartel's production quota system because of the embargo.—AFP
©--Agence France Presse.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )