US backs reopening of key Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline

US backs reopening of key Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline
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US State Secretary Blinken expressed support for the reopening of the crucial Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline, emphasizing a broader US-Iraq partnership beyond defense, during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Sudani in New York

US State Secretary Antony Blinken "underscored U.S. support" for the re-opening of a pipeline between Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and Turkey that has been shut since March during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani in New York, a statement by the State Department said on Monday.

Sudani and Blinken "renewed their commitment to continue strengthening the partnership between the two countries," the State Department spokesperson said.

Iraq has been a close partner of the U.S. since Washington's 2003 invasion and both sides say they are trying to broaden their relationship from a near-singular focus on defence and counter-terrorism towards economic cooperation.

Turkey said last week the pipeline, which contributes about 0.5% of world oil supply, would be ready to resume operations soon, though it is unclear whether Baghdad and Ankara have agreed to the terms of a resumption of crude flows.

Blinken also "commended the Prime Minister’s commitment to judicial independence in Iraq’s recent conviction and sentencing of multiple individuals on terrorism charges in connection with the killing of U.S. citizen Stephen Troell."

Iraq last month sentenced an Iranian man and four Iraqis to life in prison over Troell's November 2022 killing in a middle class neighbourhood in central Baghdad.

Court officials did not name the defendants but said the four Iraqis were members of a Shi’ite Muslim militia.