(AFP, BAGHDAD) - Iraq's oil minister condemned Saudi Arabia on Saturday for deciding to increase its output, saying the world's top oil exporter was damaging the interests of fellow OPEC members.
"Saudi Arabia's decision to raise production by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) is against OPEC's constitution and damages not only cartel members but the Arab world and Saudi people," charged Amer Rashid, quoted in Al-Jumhuriya newspaper.
Riyadh on July 3 promised the output increase unless world prices stabilised, drawing criticism from other members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries for its "unilateral" stance.
According to industry sources in London, Saudi Arabia has now quietly hiked output by 250,000 bpd and plans to open the taps further from August 1.
"The Saudi decision is due to pressure exerted by the US administration on OPEC countries, notably Saudi Arabia," said Rashid. It "serves the interests of the US administration," which has called for higher output to bring down prices.
© Agence France Presse 2000
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