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US President Bush has no interest in controlling Iraqi oil - White House

Ari Fleischer.
(10/31/2002 - OGI: Washington) Countering the widespread political and media views that US President George W. Bush's real interest in a military takeover of Iraq and removal of its President Saddam Hussein is to gain control of Iraqi oil, the White House said yesterday that is not the United States' interest.
Ari Fleischer, Bush's White House press secretary, said, "The only interest the United States has in the region is furthering the cause of peace and stability. We are not interested in Saddam Hussein's country's ability to generate oil." He added, on being asked about whether the US would take over Iraqi oilfields if it attacks the country, "The purpose of any plan the United States has is to make certain that Saddam Hussein complies with all UN resolutions," but he demurred when asked if the US military would control the oilfields. "I wouldn't even try to start guessing what the military may or may not do," he said.
Reacting to the recent reports of the US State Department planning a meeting with Iraqi opposition leaders to determine the future of Iraqi oil and the prospect of the US dolling out concessions if the American military ran the oilfields, Fleischer said, "That is not the way America works."
The State Department is, however, to hold a meeting in December that will include opposition leaders, defectors from the Iraqi petroleum ministry, and representatives of the US Department of Energy to form a working group to advise the interim government after Hussein on how to handle the redevelopment of the fields to increase oil exports to partially pay for a possible US military occupation government and whether to honor existing petroleum industry contracts, particularly those with Russian companies that are valued at over US$3.5 billion.

Click here for earlier report.

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