BAGHDAD, (AP) – Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Cabinet has approved a draft of a key oil law, and the Iraqi parliament was expected to begin debate on the measure Wednesday, an official said.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the parliament would open debate on the law, which the U.S. is pressing Iraq to pass to boost reconciliation between the country’s Sunnis and Shiites.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Cabinet approved the draft law after amendments prompted by comments from the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front and other blocs in his coalition, Dabbagh said. He did not say when the Cabinet approved the measure.
“The parliament is expected to begin discussing the law as of tomorrow,” he said.
On June 25, a government official and acting Parliament Speaker Khaled al-Attiya told The Associated Press that the Cabinet had approved the draft oil law and referred it to the “State Shura (legislative) Council.” He was referring to the body that was to quickly revise the drafts then send them to parliament for discussion.
The United States has pressed al-Maliki’s government to pass the oil law, which will define distribution of Iraq’s oil revenues, a top concern of Sunni Arabs, who populate regions of Iraq that are largely without oil resources. The bill is one of several pieces of benchmark legislation the U.S. seeks to promote reconciliation among Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic groups.