Global Policy Forum

Security Council Ready to Reduce

Agence France Presse
February 23, 2001

Norway, which heads the UN's sanctions committee on Iraq, says the UN Security Council is sympathetic to a partial lifting of sanctions against Iraq, Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland said Friday. Jagland told Norway's NRK radio that a proposal it had put forward had received a "positive" reception from the permanent members of the Security Council: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

"This proposal for the lifting of certain sanctions that affect the Iraqi population" comes after an analysis by the Norwegian foreign ministry of all requests to send goods to Iraq, Jagland told Norway's NRK radio. Some of those export denials were unjustified, he added.

According to NRK, the proposal is to lift 80 percent of the sanctions in place against Iraq since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Only measures banning the import of any equipment that Iraq could use to rebuild its arsenal would remain in place. Iraq banned UN weapons inspectors from its territory after they were evacuated in September 1998 just before US-British air strikes punished Iraq's obstruction of the inspection work.

An existing Security Council resolution offers a renewable suspension of sanctions in return for Baghdad's full cooperation with a new disarmament regime. "If the inspectors were once more allowed to travel to Iraq and if checks could be carried out regularly, the sanctions could thus be completely lifted," said Jagland. Jagland and French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine both said on Thursday that the sanctions regime should be revised.

It has come under growing scrutiny because of the effect is perceived to be having on the Iraqi civilian population.

Norway also heads the United Nations commission that oversees Iraq's compensation payments to Kuwait for damage caused during the Gulf War.

The payments come from a 25 percent levy on Iraqi oil revenues under UN control.

More Information on a Turning Point for Iraq
More Information on the Iraq Crisis
More Information on Sanctions Against Iraq


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