14:27 GMT +318 November 2019
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    A general view shows Iraq's largest oil refinery in the northern town of Baiji. (File)

    Iraq Says Exxon Mobil Foreign Staff Evacuation Has 'Nothing to Do With Threats'

    © AFP 2019 / Stan HONDA/Pool
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    On Saturday, according to media reports, Exxon Mobil evacuated all of its foreign staff members out of Iraq's West Qurna 1 oilfield.

    Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban has slammed the evacuation of Exxon Mobil's employees as "unacceptable and unjustified".

    "The withdrawal of multiple employees — despite their small number — temporarily has nothing to do with the security situation or threats in the oilfields in of southern Iraq, but it's for political reasons," he said in a statement.

    READ MORE: Exxon Files Lawsuit Against Cuba Over Post-Revolution Property Confiscation

    Ghadhban added that he has sent a letter to Exxon Mobil requesting the company immediately returns to work.

    According to Iraqi officials, Exxon Mobil withdrew all of its foreign staff, which amounted to around 60 people, but the evacuation has not affected production at the oilfield.

    On 15 May, the US State Department ordered the recall of non-emergency government employees from the US embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil. Also, the US State Department urged American citizens to abandon their visits to Iraq because of threats in the region linked to "terrorism, kidnapping and armed conflict." The Department of State assigned the fourth-highest risk level to Iraq.

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    oil, evacuation, Exxon Mobil, Iraq
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