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Iraq Expected to Produce Less Oil By Nicole Winfield Associated Press Writer Thursday, September 3, 1998; 3:37 a.m. EDT UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Hindered by outdated pumping equipment and low oil prices, Iraq is expected to produce a little more than half of the $5.2 billion in oil it is allowed to sell over six months under a special U.N. program, the U.N. chief says. The report Wednesday represented the first solid figure of Iraq's expected capability for the second half of the year to buy badly needed food and medicine for its 22 million people suffering under U.N. sanctions. Because of the shortfall, U.N. officials have begun discussions with Baghdad to prioritize its humanitarian purchases, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in the report to the Security Council. Though it's up to Baghdad to decide what to buy, U.N. officials and Western diplomats are emphasizing the need to give priority to food, medicine and spare parts to improve Iraq's oil infrastructure, officials said. Iraq has been barred from selling oil -- its economic mainstay -- on the open market since sanctions were imposed after Baghdad invaded Kuwait in 1990. A unique U.N. program, called oil-for-food, was launched in 1996 to allow Iraq to sell its oil in exchange for humanitarian goods. The Security Council, citing the need to better provide for Iraqis, agreed in February to increase the amount of oil Iraq could sell over six months from $2.14 billion to $5.26 billion. Of the $2.86 billion Iraq is expected to pump in the second half of the year, only $1.79 billion is expected to be spent on humanitarian goods, Annan said. According to U.N. resolutions, 34 cents of every oil-for-food dollar go for Gulf War reparations and administrative costs. Iraq has complained about delays in contract approvals and deliveries of goods. On Wednesday, an Iraqi health official said that less than 1 percent of the $200 million in medical supplies that Baghdad was permitted to buy during the first six months of 1998 had arrived in the country. U.N. spokesman Eric Falt acknowledged that medicine deliveries were ``slower than expected,'' but said $17 million, or 9 percent of the medical supplies, arrived during the third phase. The head of the oil-for-food program, Benon Sevan, is expected to brief the Security Council on Annan's report Friday. ) Copyright 1998 The Associated Press %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Iraq Pushed Toward Weapons Inquiry By Nicole Winfield Associated Press Writer Wednesday, September 2, 1998; 6:04 p.m. EDT UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- U.S. and British officials consulting Wednesday with Security Council members were considering giving Iraq an incentive to resume cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors. The incentive could be included in a draft resolution U.S. and British diplomats are preparing that would punish Iraq by suspending regular sanctions reviews until Baghdad cooperates with the inspectors. But U.S. and British officials, taking into account concerns of other permanent council members Russia and China, seemed willing to offer a comprehensive review of sanctions as a motivation for Iraq to resume cooperation. Such a review would force the council to recognize Iraq's previous progress in seven years of inspections to dismantle its weapons. Iraq on Wednesday dismissed as ``meaningless'' attempts to suspend the regular, 60-day sanctions reviews. The suspension would only force Iraq to ``protect its interests and security and take other strict measures,'' Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said. Without the reviews, Iraq would have little chance of getting the sanctions lifted. Arms inspectors must certify that Baghdad has destroyed its weapons of mass destruction before the Security Council will lift sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The United States and Britain hoped to have a draft presented to the council Thursday. The resolution was their boldest move yet in the current standoff with Baghdad. Diplomats stressed, however, that any comprehensive review could only take place after Iraq complies with U.N. resolutions and allows inspectors to resume their work. Iraq suspended cooperation with inspectors Aug. 5 after the chief weapons inspector, Richard Butler, refused to certify that Baghdad had destroyed its banned weapons. Russia, France and China have traditionally been more supportive of Iraq, lobbying to scale back inspections and pushing for an easing of sanctions. Iraq's oil minister said Wednesday that Iraq is trying to find a way out of its deadlock with the United Nations and the United States by looking for friends in other countries. Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rasheed told reporters in India that Iraq was telling other countries it no longer has illegal weapons and should not be subject to sanctions. Meanwhile, an Iraqi health official said in remarks published Wednesday that less than one percent of the $200 million in medical supplies that Baghdad was permitted to buy under the third phase of a U.N. oil-for-food deal arrived in the country. The deal is an exemption to the trade sanctions. U.N. spokesman Eric Falt acknowledged that medicine deliveries were ``slower than expected,'' but said $17 million, or 9 percent of the medical supplies, arrived during the third phase. ) Copyright 1998 The Associated Press -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html