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(Reuters) - An electricity worker repairing damage caused by the war between Iraqi forces and Da'ad in Mosul, April 26, 2017 (Reuters)[/rtl]
Erbil (Kurdistan 24) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and discussed with him the development of the energy sector in Iraq.
The phone call came after Abdul Mahdi said during a visit to Berlin on Tuesday that Siemens was in a position to win most of the orders worth $ 14 billion in a plan to rebuild electricity infrastructure in Iraq.
Analysts described Abdul Mahdi's statement at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as "a slap" for General Electric, which also competed in the race to develop the country's electricity grid.
Siemens has already signed three contracts with a total value of $ 700 million, one to build a 500 megawatt gas power plant, another to develop 40 gas turbines, and a third to install dozens of power plants and transformers across Iraq.
Iraqi officials have said they have come under heavy pressure from the US government to give General Electric a preference over the German company.
"The importance of strengthening cooperation between the two friendly countries, deepening economic relations and Iraq's desire to transfer US technology and expertise to Iraq and create job opportunities inside Iraq," said a statement issued by Abdulmajdi's office on Monday.[rtl]
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Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (an archival photo released by Kurdistan 24)
Abdul Mahdi stressed "the importance of strengthening the efforts of the parties to resolve the final negotiations and the signing of the draft package with the US company ExxonMobil to develop the Iraqi energy sector."
The statement gave no further details.
Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir al-Ghadhban said late last year that Iraq was in the final stages of talks with Exxon Mobil and China's CNPC on the "Integrated South Project".
The summer months will be the most important test for the new government, where the power crisis is at the top of the population's complaints in their demonstrations over the past years, especially in the south.
Iraqi officials say the country needs at least three years to boost its gas production before stopping the import of Iranian gas used to run power plants.
Baghdad is expected to continue to import Iranian gas to produce electricity despite Washington's calls to stop buying as part of US sanctions against Tehran.
The statement did not say whether Abdul Mahdi and Pompio had discussed the case.