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Iraq to sign oil deal with Chevron, foreign minister says

Iraq to sign oil deal with Chevron, foreign minister says
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Iraq’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that Baghdad is moving ahead in signing a deal that will allow Chevron to explore for oil in the country as part of a memorandum of understanding with the U.S.

“Regarding the signing of a memorandum of understanding or an agreement with Chevron, I believe that it will be signed today, yes,” Fuad Hussein said in a press conference alongside Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoUS Olympic Committee urges Congress not to boycott Games in China Pompeo on CIA recruitment: We can't risk national security to appease 'liberal, woke agenda' DNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates MORE in Washington, D.C.

Pompeo said that announcements on energy deals between U.S. companies and Iraq will come “shortly.”

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Bloomberg reported Monday that the deal will allow Chevron to explore for oil in the eastern and western parts of Nasiriyah, the capital of Dhi Qar Governorate in southern Iraq.

The meetings between Pompeo and Hussein come as the U.S. is campaigning for a snapback on all U.N. sanctions on Iran in an effort to further squeeze Tehran of funds for its military and nuclear weapons ambitions.

Iraq has become a battleground between U.S. and Iranian forces. In January, the government in Baghdad called for the expulsion of American troops amid violent confrontations between Iran-backed Shia militias and U.S. forces following the U.S. killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.

Pompeo said Wednesday there are no announcements with respect to a drawdown of American troops and said the focus should be on areas of cooperation.

“The real focus is on the joint efforts that we're making along every dimension, whether that's economic efforts, humanitarian assistance efforts, security assistance, all of those things,” Pompeo said. “We continue to understand that the Iraqi people need that, the Iraqi people's sovereignty depends on continued American commitment to support them and provide that assistance to them. We're determined to do that."

Hussein said that the Trump administration's pursuit of sanctions on Iran is U.S. policy and that Iraq seeks to maintain a strong alliance with Washington while preserving positive relations with neighboring Iran.

“We want to have good relations with our neighbors, provided that nobody interferes in Iraq's affairs,” Hussein said. “We want to protect our alliances and relations with others, including the United States of America.”