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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

SLUG: 2-277882 UN-IRAQ-OIL (L-only)



TITLE=U-N-Iraq Oil (L Only)


BYLINE=Breck Ardery

DATELINE=United Nations



INTRO: The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved an extension of the Iraq "oil-for-food" program just six hours before it was due to expire. V-O-A Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.

TEXT: The current U-N program, in which Iraq is allowed to sell oil to raise money for humanitarian purposes, is extended for five months. But the resolution does say the Council will continue to work on a new program.

The extension came as a result of a threat by Russia to veto a British resolution, backed by the United States, that would have substantially eased sanctions on civilian goods but tightened controls on weapons. Britain said the plan had wide support in the Council but wanted to avoid having it vetoed.

No matter how much support it may have, a resolution that is vetoed is usually not brought to a vote again for some time.

Both Britain and the United States say they will continue work in the next few months in an attempt to convince Russia to change its mind. U-S ambassador James Cunningham said the veto threat made the Iraqi people the losers.


The biggest losers of this failure to move forward are not the United Kingdom, the United States or the majority of Council members who favor this new approach but the ones who have lost the most are in fact the Iraqi people. The revisions we are proposing would facilitate trade and accelerate commerce and they would improve the lot of Iraq's people.

///END ACT///

Russia did not speak during the Council session. However, afterwards, Russia's ambassador Sergey Lavrov told reporters he will continue to push for his resolution that would suspend sanctions once Iraq begins cooperating with U-N weapons inspectors. Iraq has refused to allow weapons inspectors in the country.(Signed)


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