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|Friday, January 12, 2001, updated at 14:52(GMT+8)|
Iraq Blames UN Committee for Shelving Humanitarian ContractsThe United Nations Sanctions Committee has put on hold a total of 1,762 contracts during the past eight phases of the UN oil-for-food program, according to a report released by the Iraqi Trade Ministry on Thursday.
These contracts, worth some US$4 billion, have been signed between Iraq and other countries for the UN sanctions-hit country to import vital humanitarian goods within the framework of the oil-for-food formula.
Iraq has been under stringent UN sanctions ever since it invaded Kuwait in 1990. The UN program was an exception of the sanctions to allow Baghdad to export oil to buy humanitarian supplies.
The Iraqi ministry lashed out at the US and British delegates at the UN Sanctions Committee for obstructing the approval of the contracts, as the contracts have been exclusively shelved by these two countries.
Iraq has repeatedly condemned US and Britain blocking of contracts as "an aggressive trend reflecting the rancor harbored by the two governments toward Iraqi people."
Under the oil-for-food deal, now in its ninth phase, Iraq is allowed to export unlimited amount of oil and can draw 600 million dollars from its oil proceeds to import direly needed equipment for its rundown oil industry.
Iraq has often slammed the UN program for failing to meet the humanitarian needs of Iraqi people and pointed out the program could not serve as an alternative to a total lifting of the sanctions.
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