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Rocky path ahead for draft Iraq oil law

Iraq’s parliament might take a week to start debating a key draft oil law, officials said on Wednesday.

world Updated: Jul 05, 2007 02:54 IST

Iraq’s parliament might take a week to start debating a key draft oil law, officials said on Wednesday, as complaints from Shia, Sunni Arab politicians and Kurdish authorities signalled its passage could be rocky.

Washington has pushed Iraq for months to speed up passage of the law and other pieces of legislation seen as vital to curbing sectarian violence and healing deep divisions between majority Shias and minority Sunni Arabs.

Presentation of the draft to parliament after the cabinet approved it on Tuesday was a big step towards meeting a key political target set by the US.

But Mohammed Abu Bakr, head of parliament’s media office, said the law had first to go to the energy and oil committee.

“We need seven days to get the draft on the agenda of parliament to discuss it,” he said.

In fresh violence, a suicide car bomber killed seven people on Wednesday, including three policemen, when he drove into a police patrol that had pulled up at a restaurant for lunch in Baiji, 180 km north of Baghdad, police said.

American soldiers backed by war planes killed 25 gunmen during a clash in Diyala province north of Baghdad, the military said. It said fighting took place during a three-day operation that ended on Monday. It did not specify the day of the clash.