United Nations delays 'smart sanctions' proposal involving Iraqi oil exports

The United Nations Security Council Monday deferred action on a UK and US proposal to fine-tune international economic sanctions against Iraq. The delay presumably opens the door for resumed Iraqi oil exports of 2 million b/d.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 3 -- The United Nations Security Council Monday deferred action on a United Kingdom and United States proposal to impose "smart sanctions" against Iraq.

The delay presumably opens the door for resumed Iraqi oil exports of 2 million b/d. A month ago Iraq halted all oil exports to protest the Security Council's consideration of a revised oil-for-food program rather than a complete repeal.

The UK and US withdrew their smart sanctions proposal Monday rather than risk a threatened Russian veto in the Security Council. The plan would have allowed Iraq to import more civilian goods while tightening controls on smuggled oil and banned weapons.

The existing oil-for-food program, which requires the proceeds from oil export sales to be used for humanitarian goods and oil field repairs, will be extended for 5 months.

China and France, the other two permanent members of the Security Council with veto powers, had agreed to the revised sanctions. Iraq opposed them and wanted all restrictions removed.

The Russian government argued the UN should adopt a broader, temporary sanctions program that Iraq could support and that would be a preparation for the eventual lifting of all sanctions.

Acting US Ambassador James Cunningham said the administration of President George W. Bush would intensify talks with the Russians in coming months regarding the smart sanctions proposal.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell had pushed for smart sanctions in order to focus the primary goal of the economic restrictions, which was to deny Iraq imported military hardware rather than punish its civilian population.

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