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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 May, 2003, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
US appoints new Iraq oil boss
A worker in the Kirkuk oilfield
Iraq's Kirkuk oilfield opened at the end of April

A former Iraqi oil ministry official has been appointed to run the country's oil industry.

The US-led coalition said that Thamir Abbas Ghadhban, who was director of planning at the oil ministry before the war, will take on the job.

An advisory board has also been created and will be led by Phillip Carroll, the former head of Royal Dutch/Shell in the United States.

Reviving the oil industry is a vital step towards rebuilding the economy because it depends on oil exports.

Mr Ghadban will take control of day-to-day management, marketing and sales, effectively becoming Iraq's oil minister until there is a new government.

The advisory board's job will be to provide advice and guidance and ensure openness and accountability.

Fully transparent

"We are committed 100% that the Iraqi oil and hydrocarbons wealth is for the Iraqi people," Mr Ghadhban told reporters.

"I am confident that I'll do my best with my colleagues to improve the situation."

Tim Cross - the deputy to retired US general Jay Garner who is in charge of rebuilding the country - agreed that Iraqis would benefit.

"We want to have a fully transparent oil ministry where we can see the oil wealth delivered to the Iraqi people, and when you look around this country ...that wealth is desperately needed."

The US wants to see a quick end to the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait so that oil can be freely exported.

Meanwhile, a senior US diplomat has said that France and Germany, two of the leading opponents of the war in Iraq, could play a part in the reconstruction effort.

"If France or Germany recognises the need to engage seriously in Iraq, and in the reconstruction and the building as part of this broad coalition effort, I would hope they will be welcomed," said Tim Carney, who is now an adviser to Iraq's industry minister.

"But it's obviously going to be on the terms of the coalition," he added.

Erik Izraelewicz, deputy editor Les Echos
"The French business community is very concerned with what's happening...."


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