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Saif downplays impact of Iraq protests on Amman-Baghdad ties, trade


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Despite the escalation of protests in Iraq, roads between Jordan and Iraq remain opened, Transport Minister Khalid Saif said on Sunday.
In a statement, the minister said that the Jordanian-Iraqi relations are “positive”, downplaying the protests' impact on bilateral trade. 
On the day of issuing the statement, Saif said that Iraqi authorities issued 100 visas for Jordanian truck drivers, “an indication of good relations and bilateral trade”.
In the statement, the Transport minister welcomed Iraqi Ambassador to Jordan Haider Al Athari's support in issuing multi-purpose visas for Jordanian truck drivers, after receiving the approval of the Iraqi interior minister.
Several hundred people demanding jobs shut off access to the Nasiriyah oil field, 300 kilometres south of Baghdad, which produces 82,000 barrels of oil per day, Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency reported on Sunday quoting executives.
The blockade is the first to disrupt operations in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ second largest producer since the start of the popular revolt set to enter its fourth month in early January, AFP reported.
The news agency cited the Iraqi oil ministry as saying that the blockade "will not have an impact on production and exports", adding that the national oil company's branch in the southern port of Basra will "compensate for the losses."
Iraq exports around 3.6 million barrels of oil per day, according to AFP. 

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