Iraq denies exporting oil through Syrian pipeline

Published December 4th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The oil pipeline between Iraq and Syria is still under construction and has not been used until now, Iraq's Oil Minister Amer Rashid said Sunday. 

 

"We have already said that the pipeline, after lying disused for 20 years, is undergoing repairs, and as you know, it is not that simple," Rashid told a press conference. 

 

"Repairs and checks have .... reached an advance stage," he added. The pipeline, which runs around 850 kilometres (530 miles) from the northern Iraqi oilfields of Kirkuk to Banias on western Syria's Mediterranean coast, can carry up to 1.1 million barrels per day. 

 

Damascus uses part of the pipeline in its territory but closed the rest in 1982 after siding with Iran in its 1980-1988 war against Iraq. 

 

The US State Department warned after Baghdad and Damascus agreed in July 1998 to restart the pipeline that it would be a violation of the sanctions regime imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. 

 

Iraq and Syria, ruled by rival branches of the Baath party, broke off diplomatic relations in 1980, but began to normalize links in 1997 through economic cooperation, opening their border to businessmen and government officials.—AFP. 

©--Agence France Presse. 

 

© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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