Iraq deems water issue with Turkey as critical as confronting ISIS

Iraq deems water issue with Turkey as critical as confronting ISIS

Shafaq News / Minister of Water Resources in Iraq, Awn Dhiab, stated on Sunday that the water scarcity issue is as critical as the fight against ISIS, highlighting the government's approach to consolidating water-related matters within the framework of broader economic and trade concerns.

Regarding the water challenges in 2023, the Minister of Water Resources mentioned, "Through prudent management, we have worked on removing encroachments and enhancing water transportation. We managed to successfully navigate through the summer with minimal damage."

He highlighted, "An understanding with Iran resulted in a significant achievement by opening the Karun River since last April." Addressing the issue of salinity in Basra's water, he clarified, "The incoming water to Basra is currently better than in previous years."

The Iraqi minister considered the matter of the Euphrates River's water with Turkey as "political" and emphasized ongoing discussions with the Turkish side. He pointed out, "There is a governmental directive to improve relations with Turkey, with the water file being the top priority."

He continued, "There is government interest in addressing the water problem, which is comparable to confronting ISIS." He cautioned, "Iraq's water reserves are at their lowest, and we have high hopes for increasing these reserves to tackle the upcoming summer."

"Delegations regularly visit Turkey to discuss the water issue. Iraq-Turkey negotiations have been ongoing for years, aiming to reach a bilateral agreement between Baghdad and Ankara."

He added, "However, so far, we have not reached an agreement. There is a serious intent from the government to achieve a comprehensive agreement with Turkey, encompassing economic, trade, and water-related aspects."

He clarified that "there are shared interests with both the Turkish and Iranian sides," noting that "the water revenue from the Tigris River is good due to rainfall in the Kurdistan Region (KRI) and the release of water from the Turkish Ilisu dam for power generation. Moreover, the water entering Mosul Dam is more than what is released from it."

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