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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

SLUG: 2-278078 Iraq/Oil (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=07/10/01

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=IRAQ / OIL (L-O)

NUMBER=2-278078

BYLINE=SONJA PACE

DATELINE=CAIRO

INTERNET=YES

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: Iraq has once again begun pumping oil for export after a five-week dispute with the United Nations over international sanctions. VOA's Sonja Pace reports from our Middle East bureau in Cairo.

TEXT: Oil industry sources confirm that Iraqi crude is once again flowing through the pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. Tankers were standing by to take on the oil and additional ships were expected to also take on Iraqi crude at the Gulf port of Mina-al-Bakr.

The resumption of Iraqi oil exports was credited with slightly lowering prices on the world market.

Iraq cut off the flow of oil five weeks ago to protest U-S and British plans to revise international sanctions against Baghdad. But Russia blocked the Anglo-American proposal and the U-N Security Council last week voted to simply extend the existing oil-for-food program, under which Iraq exports some two million barrels of oil per day in return for food and other basic goods.

International sanctions were levied against Baghdad following its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Britain and the Unites States remain the strongest supporters of the sanctions. But over the years the embargo has come under criticism, even from some of Washington's allies. Critics say it has hurt mainly the Iraqi population and not the country's ruling elite.

In an attempt to address those concerns, the United States and Britain proposed new sanctions that would allow Iraq to import more humanitarian goods, but would tighten restrictions on items that could be used for military purposes. In the end, Russia was not persuaded and threatened a veto if the plan came up for a vote in the Security Council.

Iraq has lobbied hard against any modification of the current sanctions plan, although it insists the embargo should be lifted altogether. For Baghdad, last week's defeat of the U-S British plan was a major diplomatic victory. (Signed)

NEB/SP/KL/FC



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