US backs plan to connect GCC and Iraqi power grids

Project will promote economic development and peace in Iraq, State Department says

A tangle of wires in the Syed Sultan Ali area of Baghdad provides homes with power from private generators due to Iraq's unreliable national electricity supply. AFP 
A tangle of wires in the Syed Sultan Ali area of Baghdad provides homes with power from private generators due to Iraq's unreliable national electricity supply. AFP 

The United States on Thursday offered its support and assistance in implementing a plan to connect the power grids of GCC states and Iraq.

The US, GCC and Iraq "renewed their full support for the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) project", the State Department said, adding: "The United States is committed to facilitating this project and providing support where needed."

The project will provide much-needed electricity to the people of Iraq and support Iraq’s economic development, particularly in the southern provinces, the department said.

The GCCIA is a company set up jointly by the six GCC states in 2001 to manage the trade and integration of electricity supply among its members and the wider region.

Increased economic and energy co-operation between the US, Iraq, and the GCC countries would be a basis for peace, development and prosperity in the region, the State Department said.

The three parties also called for funds pledged at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq in 2018 to be fulfilled quickly.

Iraq is struggling to rebuild its power infrastructure damaged by decades of wars, most recently against ISIS. Planned investment has been hit by heightened tensions between the US and Iran, Baghdad's main allies, and a plunge in the price of oil, which provides 90 per cent of state revenue.

The US grants periodic waivers of its sanctions on Iran to allow Iraq to import electricity from its neighbour.

Updated: July 17, 2020 03:56 PM

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