U.S. wants power to spend Iraq oil
By Evelyn Leopold
NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States intends to introduce a
that will end 12 years of U.N. sanctions against Iraq
and give Washington and
its allies the power to spend Baghdad`s future
oil revenues for aid and
The eight-page draft resolution would remove all
sanctions imposed on
Iraq in 1990 except for an arms embargo. But the
document omits any
reference to U.N. inspectors returning to Iraq to check on
mass destruction, as 12 years of Security Council resolutions
Russia, France and others are expected to raise questions about
dearth of international arms inspections, nominal role given to
officials and U.S.-British control of the oil revenues, now
by the United Nations.
"The big debate will be the balance
between the coalition forces and the
United Nations, with several members
wanting a stronger, more defined
U.N. role," one council diplomat said. "And
the debate will certainly be
about the oil money."
The draft, obtained
by Reuters and circulated to key Security Council
members, would phase out
the current U.N. oil-for-food humanitarian
program over four
It would allow Iraq to sell oil again without U.N. controls. The
would be deposited in an "Iraqi Assistance Fund" for
purposes and reconstruction.
This new institution would
have an advisory board that would include
officials from the United Nations,
International Monetary Fund, World
Bank and others.
But decisions on
where to spend the money would be made by the United
States and Britain and
their allies in the war that deposed President
Saddam Hussein, in
consultation with an Iraqi interim authority and
until a new Iraqi government
The draft does not call for the return of U.N. arms inspectors
that Iraq no longer has weapons of mass destruction, as specified
some 16 earlier U.N. resolutions.
NO ROLE FOR U.N.
U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, who was briefing council
the Bush administration did not see "any role for the U.N.
for the foreseeable future."
"The coalition has taken
over the process of inspecting in Iraq for
weapons of mass destruction," he
The document asks Secretary-General Kofi Annan to appoint
coordinator to supervise U.N. humanitarian assistance
"reconstruction activities in Iraq."
The coordinator would play a
nominal role in establishing governing
institutions, promoting human rights,
legal and judicial reforms, and
helping build an Iraqi police
The resolution would phase out the U.N. oil-for-food
program over four months but honour "priority civilian goods"
contracts already approved. It was unclear whether all
contracts for supplies, including $1.6 billion (one billion pounds)
Russian contracts, would be fulfilled.
Without adoption of the
resolution, no Iraqi or U.S. entity in Baghdad
has the legal authority to
export oil. The United States wants the
measure passed by June 3, when the
oil-for-food program needs to be
The program was designed to
ease the impact of sanctions imposed when
Saddam`s troops invaded Kuwait in
August 1990. It allowed Iraq to sell
oil to purchase food, medicine and other
civilian goods under U.N.
supervision. Oil revenues are deposited into a U.N.
escrow account to
The oil-for-food fund now has some
$13 billion in outstanding contracts
for food, medicine and other civilian
goods ordered by the ousted