US, UK Push Resolution to Further Own Agenda in Iraq

The United States and Britain, together with co-sponsor Spain, presented the United Nations Security Council on Friday with a resolution that called for an end to sanction and a phase-out of the oil-for-food program.

Moment after the council ended its consultation, US ambassador to the UN John Negroponte told reporters that the initial reactions were "quite constructive," quoting some delegations as describing the resolution as "forward-looking" without rehashing the argument of the past.

But he noted council members had raised many questions that deal with complicated legal and technical issues, adding that many focused on the role of the UN in Iraq and expressed great reservation about resolution's failure to mention the role of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

He defended the resolution by arguing that it would encourage the international community to assist the Iraqi people to build a better future by themselves for their country.

The resolution would establish a UN coordinator for UN involvement in Iraq and wind down the oil-for-food program by providing a continuing delivery of food, medicine and other essential goods to meet the needs of the Iraqi people and support their efforts in charting their own political future, he added.

The US ambassador said the council had an extensive discussion in the form of questions and comments posted by other delegations and council members had agreed on the way to move forward with the negotiations.

Earlier, British ambassador to the UN Jeremy Greenstock said the resolution was designed as a significant next step in four areas that were not yet addressed by the council.

These include setting down some principles for the next period of activities in Iraq, establishing the vital role of the United Nations, lifting sanctions and making humanitarian, economic and funding arrangement, particularly through the use of the oil sector.

He said there has been a "decidedly constructive atmosphere in the council," noting that plenty questions, especially legal questions, queries about the political framework, had been raised. He said Britain is ready for constructive discussion with other council members in the weeks ahead.

The Security Council has decided to convene an expert meeting next Monday to address many of the questions that had been raised and the council would then meet at the ambassadorial level Wednesday.

The following are the main points of the resolution:
--The United States and Britain ask for a lift of all trade and financial sanctions against Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, with the exception of an arms embargo.

--The United States and Britain recognize their obligations under international law as occupying powers, also known as "the Authority" and will allow other allies to join them in the future.

-- The resolution calls for the establishment of an "Iraqi Assistance Fund" to meet humanitarian needs of the Iraq people, economic reconstruction and repair of Iraq's infrastructure and serve other civilian purposes. All revenues from exports of oil and natural gas are to go into the fund.

-- Money in the fund would be used "at the direction" of the "Authority" and in consultation with an Iraqi interim authority and until an Iraqi government is formed.

-- The resolution proposed the establishment of an international advisory board, staffed by officials from the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and audited by an independent public accountant chosen by the advisory board, to oversee the operation of the fund.

-- The resolution proposes that a percentage of the oil revenues would still be deducted for a compensation fund for Kuwaiti and other claims resulting from Iraq's 1990 invasion. However, the percentage will supposedly be reduced from the current 25 percent to some 5 percent.

-- The resolution calls for a phase out of the U.N. oil-for-food program over a period of four months. Some 13 billion dollars from Iraq's past oil revenues are now in the UN-administered program, Whatever amount of fund is left over in four months' period would be deposited into the new Iraq Assistance Fund.

-- The resolution asks the UN Secretary-General to appoint a special envoy to coordinate humanitarian activities, support reconstruction, work with the United States and Britain to establish governing institutes and reform legal and judicial systems.

-- The resolution asks for the "exercise of responsibility" by the United States and Britain for an initial period of 12 months. This jurisdiction would continue automatically unless the Security Council decided otherwise.

-- The resolution urges all countries to watch out for, return and prohibit trade of Iraq cultural properties looted from Iraq's National Museum and National Library.



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