WASHINGTON —U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) and Richard G. Lugar (R-IN), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed today their strong support for Iraq’s commitment to greater transparency in its oil and gas industry.
Iraq formally announced Monday its intention to become a candidate country in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) following years of growing interest in the initiative from Iraqi leaders. EITI is an international coalition of governments, companies and civil society that promotes good governance through the publication of oil, gas and mining revenues.
“This is a significant step toward a greater future for Iraq,” said Cardin, who has promoted EITI as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission). “The EITI process has proven to strengthen civil society and increase revenue transparency. By joining this coalition, Iraq’s leaders are committing to transparency that will empower citizens to hold their government accountable.”
“Corruption remains a significant problem in Iraq,” said Lugar, the Ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee. “As oil and gas is the single largest source of revenue for Iraq, it is important that the revenues generated benefit the people of Iraq, and not just a handful of businessmen and officials. By committing to implement EITI, Iraq is creating a foundation for good governance and accountability in a sector critical to Iraq’s future stability.”
Senators Lugar and Cardin, along with eight other co-sponsors, recently introduced the Energy Security Through Transparency Act (S. 1700), a bipartisan bill that aims to increase transparency through public disclosure of oil, gas and mining payments and encourages U.S. participation in EITI.
To see a video from the U.S. Helsinki Commission on the need for energy transparency and energy security go here.