Iraqi leader to talk on oil, deliver lecture in Mumbai

Mumbai, Aug 6 : As India engages with Iraq for more oil supplies, the west Asian country's Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani will visit Mumbai next week to speak on this aspect and deliver a lecture on the global oil economy, among other engagements.

"Recent Trends in the Global Energy Economy" will be the main topic of al-Shahristani's lecture, being organised Aug 14 by leading think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), along with the Oberoi group, at The Trident hotel here.

The visiting dignitary, who oversees the energy portfolio, will also speak on Iraq's readiness to sell more oil to India. In fact, India's External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had called on him in Baghdad in June to explore this possibility.

Iraq is currently exporting more than USD 20 billion worth of oil to India. However, Indian exports to Iraq are only a little more than USD 1 billion.

Al-Shahristani, who has been deputy chairman of the Iraqi national assembly and the head of the Iraqi National Academy of Sciences, spent some 12 years till 1991 as a political prisoner in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

As chief scientific advisor with the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, he had refused to help the regime build an atomic weapon.

Al-Shahristani escaped during a bombing raid on Baghdad during the first Gulf War and fled to Iran where he served as head of the war victims' organization till 1995. He later continued to support the victims of Hussein's regime in various capacities.

The deputy prime minister's engagements are also expected to be a precursor to the visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to New Delhi later this year at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

--IANS (Posted on 06-08-2013)

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