NEWSFLASH

OPLE TO VISIT IRAN TO ENSURE RP OIL SUPPLY

MANILA, January 13, 2003 (STAR) Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople said yesterday he will visit Iran from Jan. 13 to 17 to ensure the country gets a steady supply of oil even if fighting breaks out in Iraq.

Ople plans to meet Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Iranian speaker Majlis Mehdi Karroubi.

"We will seek among other bilateral concerns, the assurance of Iranian oil supplies in the event of war between the United States and Iraq," Ople said.

The two countries were also to discuss possible joint ventures in energy and petrochemicals. The Philippines will also look into making Iran a trans-shipment point for exports to Central Asia, Ople said.

Iran is the Philippines second-largest source of petroleum, behind Saudi Arabia.

The Philippines has been making arrangements with alternative suppliers should a war with Iraq cut off supplies from traditional Gulf suppliers. AFP


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