The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries decided at a meeting Saturday not to suspend Iraq's membership and to maintain an OAPEC training institute in Baghdad, sources said.
The meeting of the 10 Arab oil states is expected to set the tone for an OPEC meeting starting Monday in Vienna, where delegates from Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait will again meet across a conference table.Oil ministers and officials of the Arab group said prior to Saturday's meeting at a Cairo hotel that they hoped to discuss purely administrative and not political matters, but sources said the oil ministers had considered suspending Iraq's membership in the organization.
The sources said the idea was dropped prior to Saturday's meeting.
Instead, the ministers in the one-day conference agreed to move OAPEC headquarters temporarily from occupied Kuwait to Cairo and approved the organization's $4.3 million 1991 budget.
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Rashid Salem Ameeri said at a news conference after the OAPEC meeting that Kuwait would consider any proposal to kick Iraq out of OPEC, but did not say if Kuwait would propose the measure itself at the Vienna OPEC meeting next week.
"Kuwait is willing to consider any proposal supported by a majority of members," he said.
The OAPEC ministers at Saturday's meeting did not discuss oil prices or production quotas - the domain of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which includes non-Arab state members. OAPEC, separate from the older OPEC, was set up to promote and coordinate developments in the Arab oil industry.
"It was close to an administrative meeting, keeping in mind this is a very political issue and very tense times," said one source close to the OAPEC discussions.
OAPEC Secretary-General Abdul Aziz al Turki read a statement after the meeting saying OAPEC headquarters would be moved from Kuwait City to Cairo at the beginning of January. But the organization has already been operating out of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Cairo since Iraq invaded Kuwait Aug. 2.