SINAN SALAHEDDIN
Associated Press
April 2, 2009

An Iraqi minister blamed Iran and Turkey as well as a dry winter for the country’s growing water shortage and urged its neighbors on Wednesday to share more water with Baghdad.

[efoods]Water Resources Minister Abdul-Latif Jamal Rasheed said both countries had built a large number of dams and reservoirs on the tributaries of Iraq’s two main rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates.

He said Iraq was seeking a “sufficient and fair share of water” from the rivers — the largely desert country’s two main water resources — through water-sharing agreements with Ankara and Tehran.

“We have been asking them to sign such agreements, but the other sides are not ready,” Rasheed said. He refused to say whether the two countries’ water policies were politically motivated.

“We have an ongoing coordination with Turkey … and it has released convincing quantities recently,” he told a Baghdad press conference. “But we have not held any meeting with Iran despite sending at least one or two letters each month to start meetings.”

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