UN okays more oil-for-food contracts for Iraq than it rejects

The United Nations Security Committee overseeing the post-Gulf sanctions against Iraq last week released more humanitarian contracts under the oil-for-food program than it has placed on hold, reversing a long-standing trend, according to the Office of the Iraq Program. The total value of contracts placed on hold by the Security Council's sanctions committee fell last week, both in absolute and relative terms, "after months of gradual increase."


By the OGJ Online Staff

LONDON, May 9 -- The United Nations Security Committee overseeing the post-Gulf sanctions against Iraq last week released more humanitarian contracts under the oil-for-food program than it has placed on hold, reversing a long-standing trend, according to the Office of the Iraq Program.

The total value of contracts placed on hold by the Security Council's sanctions committee fell last week, both in absolute and relative terms, "after months of gradual increase," the OIP said Tuesday.

Those contracts cover goods purchased by Iraq with a portion of its UN-administered oil revenues.

Removing the hold off 40 contracts -- for goods purchased by Baghdad with a portion of its UN-administered oil revenues -- worth some $201.4 million, while placing on hold 32 new contracts valued at $107.8 million, "shifted the balance."

The OIP noted that a single contract for Iraq's electricity sector, worth $110 million, was among those released, along with a number of deals for irrigation systems, animal vaccines, tug boats, gas turbine equipment, and a wastewater treatment plant.

New contracts related to water treatment and electromechanical equipment, pipes, valves, a television transmitter, medical machines and a tire-testing machine, were among those put on hold.

Overall, 1,691 contracts worth $3.5 billion are currently on hold, representing 17.1% of the value of all contracts put before the committee, the OIP reported.

Iraq exported around 14.4 million bbl of oil last week, earning an estimated 371 million euros at current market prices.

The oil-for-food program was put in place after sanctions were imposed on Iraq following the Gulf War in order that the Middle East state might spend a portion of its oil revenues on humanitarian aid and equipment for use in its oil sector.

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