UN resolution on Iraq sanctions to be introduced

09 May 2003
A UN resolution on the lifting of Iraq sanctions, sponsored by the US, the UK and Spain, is to be presented to the UN Security Council on 9 May. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 7 May, US Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters: 'I think it's a resolution everybody will be able to rally around, and it is also a resolution that will give -the Secretary-General and the UN -the vital role that President Bush has spoken of.' He said that the US was working with international partners, including those who opposed the war, to reach a consensus on the sanctions question. 'You can be sure that it is a resolution that does not fight the battles of the past but is forward-looking, a resolution that will unite the international community to help the people of Iraq to a better life and to build a new government.' President Bush, after a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, also said that he thought international support was coalescing behind the new resolution. 'We believe there is a mood to work together to achieve a resolution that will expedite the reconstruction of Iraq,' he said. The US wants to have an agreement in place before the expiry of the current oil-for-food programme on 3 June. However, Russia said that it would only support the suspension of embargoes on humanitarian supplies, and has already circulated a draft resolution calling for Annan to take over management of the whole oil-for-food programme, including oil sales, until an internationally-recognised Iraqi government is in place.

The text of the draft resolution would legally phase out the oil-for-food programme over four months, but the status of existing contracts signed under the programme is unclear. Oil sales would be overseen by an international board including the UN and the World Bank. A UN envoy would be appointed to liaise with the US and UK on the post-war government, economic reconstruction and humanitarian issues. The text makes no mention of the return of UN weapons inspectors to verify the absence of weapons of mass destruction, as some countries have demanded and as the sanctions resolutions specify.

On 7 May, Bush announced the suspension of the 1990 Iraq Sanctions Act, which prohibits trade with Baghdad. US Treasury Secretary John Snow said that some of its provisions would be lifted immediately, allowing the export of humanitarian supplies and permitting Iraqis in the US to send up to $500 to people within Iraq. 'The easing of US sanctions will bring much-needed aid and humanitarian relief to the Iraqi people,' said Snow.

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