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Re: Annan calls for increase in Iraq aid

This is an interesting line Iraq is taking:

FOCUS - Iraq blasts increase in oil-for-food

            By Hassan Hafidh
            BAGHDAD, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Iraq criticised on Tuesday a
United Nations proposal to increase oil sales under its oil-for-
food deal with the world body, saying the move aimed at stealing
``half of Iraq's oil wealth.''
            A spokesman for the Iraqi Culture and Information Ministry
said the increase also aimed at weakening Iraqi efforts to lift
U.N. trade sanctions imposed for Baghdad's 1990 invasion of
            U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed that Iraq be
allowed to increase its oil sales to $5.2 billion from $2
billion over the next six months to avoid a humanitarian
            ``Apart from the good intention of Mr Annan, the
recommendation ... stems from American and perhaps British
intentions aiming at stealing more than 50 percent of Iraq's oil
resources,'' the unidentified spokesman said in a statement
carried by the Iraqi News Agency INA.
             U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Denis Halliday told
Reuters on Tuesday even if Baghdad approved the increase in its
oil sales it would take time to alleviate suffering of Iraqis
hard-hit by sanctions.
             The oil accord currently allows Iraq to export $2  billion
worth of oil in exchange for food and medicine over a period of
180 days to relieve the impact on civilians of sanctions imposed
after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
            ``The increase in the total amount of the oil-for-food pact
aims at weakening Iraq's call to lift the unjust embargo,'' the
spokesman said.
            Under terms of the 1991 Gulf War ceasefire, sanctions will
not be lifted until U.N. arms inspectors, who are at loggerheads
with Baghdad over weapons inspections, testify that they have
rid Iraq of all its weapons of mass destruction.
            The crisis between Iraq and the U.N. arms inspectors was
sparked by Baghdad's refusal to allow them to inspect so-called
``presidential sites.''
            The spokesman said Annan's proposal was ``a political action
with bad intention (against Iraq) rather than good intention.''
            He said ``Iraq is not begging anybody and purchases of food,
medicines and other essentials (under the deal) ... are being
paid by Iraqi money.''
            The spokesman said the oil pact had not been implemented
properly because of ``American interference.''
            On Monday, Iraqi parliamentary deputies said any increase in
the programme would mean nothing to Iraqis unless the United
States stopped delaying approval of food and medical purchases.
            ``The important thing is not only increasing the amount (of
the pact) but speeding up the process of approving contracts
which are being blocked by America and Britain,'' Saad Qasim
Hamoudi, head of the Arab and International Committee at the
Iraqi parliament, told Reuters.

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