Baghdad warning on oil-for-food deal

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The Independent Online
IRAQ WARNED the United Nations Security Council yesterday that it would withdraw from the oil-for-food programme if council members approved a resolution stipulating the programme was an ongoing operation.

"We told all council members that this would mean disengaging Iraq from the programme," Iraq's UN ambassador, Nizar Hamdoon, said yesterday after delivering the warning to the council president, Antonio Monteiro of Portugal.

Iraq was barred from freely exporting oil in 1990 following its invasion of Kuwait. In 1996, the council approved the oil-for-food programme, which allows limited exports of Iraqi oil to fund humanitarian supplies and to compensate Gulf War victims.

The United States had hoped to transform the deal, which must be renewed by the Security Council every six months, into a programme that would continue as long as economic sanctions remain in place.

Late last month, the US tried in a draft resolution to link that proposal to the approval of a $300m (pounds 185m) shipment of spare parts for Iraq's oil industry. But the proposal ran into resistance from Britain and other council members.

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