ARABS-UN - June 8 - Council Extends Iraq Oil, Food Program.
The resolution cuts down procedures to review and approve oil contracts Iraq submits, which now take about 20 days. It also asks Secretary-General Annan to appoint oil overseers to review the contracts without approval from council members, who have turned these posts into politically loaded disputes. It also allows Iraq to spend US$600m over the next 6 months for spare parts to upgrade its dilapidated oil industry, in line with recommendations from Annan. (Any issue dealing with Iraq breaks into political camps, with France, Russia and China sympathetic to Baghdad, and the US and Britain maintaining a relatively hard line. But negotiations this time were smoother than usual with EU members Britain and France taking the lead in seeking a compromise and then co-sponsoring the resolution. All 5 countries are permanent council members with veto power.)
Britain and the US had wanted to extend the program for one year instead of the current 6 months but France and others insisted this be dropped. They said Iraq would not accept a longer extension, as it would imply the sanctions, adopted when Baghdad's troops invaded Kuwait in Aug. 1990, would stay in place for at least another year. France, in turn, had wanted Iraq to use some of the oil revenues to pay about US$10m in back dues to the UN. But US and British officials rejected this, saying that as long as Iraq was uncooperative on arms inspections, they were not granting any special diplomatic favours. (A requirement for easing sanctions is an accounting by Iraq of its dangerous weapons program. But UN arms inspectors have not been allowed back into the country since they left shortly before a US-British bombing raid in Dec. 1998.) Earlier June 8, Iraq blames UN sanctions for sharp increases in rates of cancer, birth defects, anaemia, thyroid disorders, miscarriages, hepatitis, anxiety, depression and tension among women and children. Iraq's minister for labour and social affairs Sadie Abbas tells a conference on equal rights for women: In the name of the women and children of Iraq, we appeal to you to shoulder your legal and humanitarian responsibilities and do your utmost efforts to put an end to this suffering by lifting the sanctions".
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|Publication:||APS Diplomat Recorder|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Jun 10, 2000|
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