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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

21 June 2005

United Nations Funds To Help Iraq Pay Dues

$220 million escrow account being transferred to Iraq, Annan says

By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent

United Nations -- The United Nations will release more than $20 million held in an escrow account to help Iraq pay its U.N. dues and related obligations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has announced.

In a letter to the Security Council June 21, the secretary-general said that he intended to transfer a total of more than $220 million into accounts for Iraq's development and U.N. arrears.  The money has been held in an escrow account set up under the Oil-for-Food Program to pay for the U.N. Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC).

Under the Oil-for-Food Program, Iraq sold oil under U.N. supervision and the funds were used primarily to provide humanitarian goods to civilians affected by the sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.  The remainder of the funds were used to compensate victims of the invasion and to pay administrative costs of U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq.  UNMOVIC withdrew from Iraq two years ago.

The secretary-general said that $200 million will be transferred to the Development Fund for Iraq and the balance of $20,256,697 will be credited against Iraq's arrears in its contributions to the U.N. regular budget, peacekeeping operations, and the activities of the war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

In a statement issued in advance of the June 21-22 International Conference on Iraq in Brussels, Belgium, the secretary-general also pledged steadfast U.N. support for Iraq.

"The Iraqi people continue to endure a painful and difficult transition and they still have a long and tough road ahead.  The United Nations is privileged and determined to walk it with them.  In doing so, we serve not only the people of Iraq but the peoples of all nations who share a vital interest in the eventual emergence of a stable, peaceful and democratic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East," he said.

Annan, who will address the conference on June 22, also said that whether U.N. assistance proves effective will depend largely on the Iraqis themselves and whether they can write a constitution that is inclusive and fair.

Helping with the transition, the secretary-general said, the United Nations is working both inside and outside the country to support donor coordination, capacity-building of Iraqi ministries and civil organizations, delivery of basic services, and drafting of the constitution and planning for upcoming elections.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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