Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah said on November 14th that Kuwait would ask the new OPEC secretary general to consider dissolving Iraq’s veto power in the oil cartel.
Al-Sabah said that Iraq should be “deprived” of its role in the decision-making process at OPEC because it has ceased paying its dues to the group.
He indicated that he would ask Venezuelan Oil Minister and OPEC President Ali Rodriguez, slated to become OPEC secretary general as of January 1st, 2001, to consider a revision of OPEC’s statue, which does not require member countries to pay fees.
The minister said that: “The problem is the statute doesn’t say anything about paying fees. We have to advise the secretary general to adopt the U.N. charter. We’re pressing for that.”
Under the U.N. charter, countries are required to pay dues for their membership in international organizations. Iraq last year had asked that it be allocated money from the revenues from the oil-for-food program to be able to pay its outstanding dues to both OPEC and the U.N., but it had been refused by the Security Council.
Al-Sabah had told reporters after the OPEC meeting on November 12th in Vienna that 10 of the 11 members had backed the Saudi Arabian nominee for the secretary general post, Suleiman Jasir al-Herbish, but that Iraq had exercised its veto power.
He indicated that: “the only way to get out of this was to ask Ali Rodriguez to take over.” However, the Kuwaiti oil minister may have been twisting the truth a bit, as Iran had also been adamantly opposed to accepting al-Herbish as the next secretary general.
Al-Sabah also said that: “Iraq doesn’t participate in output cuts, sits as an observer … and shouldn’t be allowed to have a veto.” He suggested that other OPEC members would support Kuwait’s attempt to lessen Iraq’s power within the group, saying that: “It has to happen.”