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Iraqi Trade Minister Says

Agence France Presse
June 8, 2000

Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mahdi Saleh charged Thursday that the United Nations has converted a program meant to partially alleviate the embargo on Iraq into a moneymaker for itself.

"The United Nations has converted the oil-for-food program into the oil-for-UN gains" deal, he told reporters after a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mussa in Cairo.

"Of 29 billion dollars in oil exports in three and a half years, the Iraqi people got seven billion dollars, while the UN deducted 8.5 billion dollars for its own expenses and compensation," Saleh said without explaining where the rest of the money went.

He blamed "a US-British intention to take advantage of the Iraqi situation."

The United Nations imposed an embargo on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990. The United Nations later allowed Iraq to sell limited quantities of oil in order to buy necessities, under strict UN supervision. Saleh said his talks in Egypt concerned improving bilateral ties and Arab solidarity.

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