Iraq to U.S. Government: Exxon Mobil Needs to Stop
Iraq’s ambassador to the United States issued a plea to the Obama administration Monday, asking the U.S. government to step in and apply some pressure on Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), whose recent dealings with the Kurdistan government could incite conflict in Iraq.
Tensions are always high between the Kurdistan Regional Government in the north of Iraq and the central government in Baghdad, and Exxon’s recent business agreements with the KRG aren’t helping the situation.
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Exxon – which is eager to shift business away from its West Qurna-1 oilfield in southern Iraq and move into the north – signed an exploration deal with the KRG a year ago, angering Baghdad.
Now, the central government in Iraq is urging Exxon to slow its dealings with the North to prevent dangerous disputes between the two regions from worsening. Ambassador to the U.S. Jabir Habeb got involved Monday, calling for the U.S. government to step in.
“We need the American government to exert some pressure on this company,” Habeb said. He added that because there are very real social and political issues at stake, the problem goes beyond that of a shareholders issue, and the government would be justified in taking action.