Iraq Slams UN Sanctions Committee

July 9, 2000

A total of 1,989 contracts Iraq signed with foreign countries have been put on hold by the U.N. Sanctions Committee, because of obstacles placed by the U.S. and British delegates at the committee.

In a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) on Sunday, Iraqi trade ministry said that during the past seven phases of the U.N. oil-for-food program, the U.N. Sanctions Committee shelved 1,989 contracts worth 3.1 billion U.S. dollars. It is the first time for Iraq to summarize the total number of contracts shelved by the U.N. Sanctions Committee.

The contracts, including 885 for the oil sector, 223 for health, 244 for electricity and 192 for the trade sector, were concluded between Iraq and Arab, European and other countries. The statement condemned the conduct of the U.S. and British delegates who represent their governments' "hostile policy" towards Iraq.

The U.N. oil-for-food deal have failed to meet Iraq's needs, and the total lifting of the U.N. sanctions is the only way to alleviate sufferings of the Iraqi people, the statement said. Baghdad has frequently accused the U.S. and British members at the U.N. Sanctions Committee of blocking vital imports. According to U.N. statistics released in the last April, the U. S. and Britain had blocked contracts worth over 1.6 billion dollars for Iraq to buy daily necessities.

Iraq has been under U.N. sanctions ever since its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, but the U.N. oil-for-food accord launched in 1996 allows Baghdad to export crude in return for U.N.-supervised imports of food, medicine and humanitarian supplies. Iraq says the decade-old sanctions have claimed lives of over 1. 3 million people, causing a humanitarian crisis in the country.

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