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Iraq forms special delegation to negotiate with Turkey, Iran over water share

Mehdi Rashid al-Hamdani, Iraq's Minister of Water Resources, speaks during an interview with AFP at his office in the capital Baghdad on 19 August 2020. [SABAH ARAR/AFP via Getty Images]
Mehdi Rashid al-Hamdani, Iraq's Minister of Water Resources, speaks during an interview with AFP at his office in the capital Baghdad on August 19, 2020. - With its neighbours activating new dams, Iraq's historic twin rivers could run dry -- unless new infrastructure projects and tense talks with Turkey and Iran bear fruit. Their new dams on the Tigris and Euphrates, and the tributaries that feed them, have reduced water flows into Iraq by half, said Hamdani. (Photo by Sabah ARAR / AFP) (Photo by SABAH ARAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The Iraqi Foreign Relations Committee in Parliament yesterday formed a special delegation headed by the Minister of Water Resources, Mahdi Rashid Al-Hamdani, to resolve the water file with Turkey and Iran.

The committee's rapporteur, MP Iqbal Abdul Hussein, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been informed of the formation of the delegation under the direction of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.

"The negotiations delegation will seek to have serious solutions to releasing the shared water, and not establishing more dams, which have turned a number of regions in Iraq into deserts, as well as cut off a lot of water from agricultural areas," she added.

The committee stressed on the importance that the negotiating team succeeds in resolving the water crisis and using economic relations as a means to pressure Iran and Turkey to resolve the water file.

Iraq's agriculture industry has been hit hard as a result of ongoing Iranian dam projects which reduce the water flow and block major water supplies from two of the region's main rivers, Middle East Eye reported.

Farmers in the eastern province of Diyala and the Kurdish region say their livelihoods are under threat as a result of Tehran re-directing the Sirwan and Little Zab rivers to dams in Iran, forcing some Iraqis to leave their towns and villages.

READ: Iraq denies opening Zurbatiyah border crossing to Iran visitors 

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