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Thursday June 17 3:19 AM ET US And Russia Still Far Apart On Iraqi Sanctions By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - In an attempt to get the Security Council's Iraq policy back on track, Britain, backed by the United States, has proposed suspending the U.N. oil embargo against Baghdad. But Russia said the British move did not go far enough. The 15-nation Security Council has been deadlocked since U.S.-British bombing raids against Iraq last December on how to resume political and disarmament ties with Baghdad. Chief U.S. representative Peter Burleigh said Wednesday that Washington ``was pleased'' with a new British draft resolution, co-sponsored by the Netherlands, that would suspend sanctions on Iraqi exports, such as oil, if Baghdad answered remaining questions on its weapons of mass destruction. ``We have some problems with small parts of it, but by and large it is something the U.S. can support,'' Burleigh said. But council diplomats doubted the draft would break the impasse. It keeps tight controls on all goods imported to Iraq, a situation some blame for strangling Baghdad's economy. Iraq, which has criticized more liberal French proposals, is bound to reject the new draft. Baghdad says it has no more unconventional weapons and wants a complete lifting of the sanctions, imposed after its troops invaded Kuwait in 1990. Under a 1991 cease-fire resolution after the Gulf War, in which a U.S.-led force drove Iraq from Kuwait, the council linked disarmament to a lifting of the oil embargo. Washington in the past said it could not consider the oil embargo in isolation from other demands. Its reaction to the draft indicates a slight softening of that position. Russia's U.N. ambassador Sergei Lavrov called the British draft as taking ``a very large step backward'' from the 1991 resolution by proposing a suspension rather than a lifting of the oil embargo. France, Russia and China back rival resolutions that would suspend or lift sanctions for Iraqi imports as well as exports after a new arms inspection commission is set up and running. But diplomats said it was significant that Britain as well as the United States for the first time mentioned a partial suspension of sanctions at a time Iraqi relations with the council were at an all-time low. The new draft retains provisions from earlier Anglo-Dutch proposals that allow foreign oil companies to invest in Iraq's oil industry and removes the cap on how much oil Iraq can sell, currently at $5.26 billion every six months. It would also maintain ``effective financial controls'' to make sure Iraq did not reacquire dangerous weapons, which means maintaining a U.N. escrow account into which oil companies pay monies. The United Nations then pays suppliers for goods Iraq wants to purchase. And it would set up a new U.N. Commission on Inspection and Monitoring (UNCIM), that would replace the current U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) but use its arms experts and resources. Arms inspectors left Baghdad on the eve of the December air strikes and have not been allowed to return since then. The British draft demands cooperation and compliance on disarmament of Iraq's dangerous weapons for about eight months before any sanctions could be eased. It would also require a new council vote every 120 days to continue the suspension. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***