A Jordanian delegation began talks in Baghdad on Thursday on renewing a yearly agreement that sees Iraq providing Jordan with oil at preferential rates.
The delegation, led by the Secretary of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry Ahmad Muhammad Al Bashir, held talks with Iraqi oil ministry officials on “Jordanian imports of oil and refined oil products from Iraq,” an Iraqi oil source told AFP.
Quoted by Iraqi News Agency (INA), Bashir said he would hold talks with Iraq's Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rasheed and oil officials of the State Organisation for Marketing Oil (SOMO).
The INA also quoted Iraq's Oil Ministry Undersecretary Taha Hmoud Mossa as saying the deal was going smoothly. Under the agreement sanctions-hit Iraq supplies Jordan with an annual 4.8 million tonnes of crude oil and refined oil products. Iraq's oil exports to Jordan are exempted from UN sanctions which ban Baghdad from freely exporting its oil as a punishment for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Iraq was Jordan's biggest trading partner before the United Nations trade sanctions. Jordan's exports to Iraq under the oil programme are only a fraction of what they were before the sanctions were imposed.
The newly-appointed Jordanian government recently put out feelers to Baghdad, hinting that it sought better ties after a number of misunderstandings over the last few years.
Despite the sanctions, Baghdad remains Jordan's main energy supplier as it delivers annually over $600 million worth of crude and products under undisclosed concessionary terms that ease the burden on the kingdom's deficit-ridden budget.
For the year 2000, the agreements cover Jordanian exports worth $300 million in exchange for 4.8 million tonnes of Iraqi crude, half free and half at discount prices.
Jordan exported products with a total value of $843 million as part of the UN-sponsored “oil-for-food” programme from when it started in December 1996 until the end of 1999.
( Jordan Times )
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )