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|Wednesday, August 09, 2000, updated at 19:52(GMT+8)|
Iraq Slams US, Britain for Blocking Oil ContractsIraq on Wednesday slammed the US and British delegates at the UN Sanctions Committee for blocking oil contracts Iraq signed with foreign countries within the framework of the UN oil-for-food program.
Because of the obstruction by the US and Britain, a total of 1,313 oil contracts worth 790 million US dollars have been put on hold by the UN Sanctions Committee since the beginning of this year, Faleh Hassan Al-Heiyad, general director of the Studying and Planning Office of the Iraqi Oil Ministry, said at a press conference.
As a result, only 20 percent of the contracts valued at some 360 million dollars were approved by the UN Sanctions Committee, said the official.
"The obstructing and delaying of contracts will definitely lead to the diminishing of the oil sector's capabilities to fulfill its obligation of production and exports," he said.
What has been done in the UN Sanctions Committee is not "conducive" to Iraq, he said.
Answering a question from Xinhua, the official pledged that Iraq will continue its oil output increase "to maximize the financial input to the Iraqi people."
"Everybody has an obligation to let Iraq produce as much oil as it can to maximize the financial input," he said, adding that Iraq still does not reach the production level of 3.2 million barrels a day in July 1990.
Iraq's current oil production stands at 3.1 million barrels a day, of which 600,000 barrels are consumed domestically and the rest for exports.
Baghdad has frequently accused the US and British members at the UN Sanctions Committee of impeding the implementation of the UN oil-for-food program by blocking vital oil contracts for Iraq to buy oil equipment and spare parts.
Since the humanitarian program was launched in late 1996, the US and Britain have blocked contracts worth over 3 billion dollars, according to UN statistics released last April.
Iraq has been under sweeping UN sanctions ever since its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
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