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Sevan briefs the Security Council

Following are excerpts from Benon Sevan's briefing of the Security Council
last week (Feb 7), the full transcript of which is here:

>> Oil Sector <<

"... Iraq's oil industry continues to be in a lamentable state. We would
appeal to all members of the Council to reflect on the argument that -
unless key items of oil industry equipment are made available and
commissioned within a short time, the production of oil is likely to drop,
even under a regime of severe risk management. This is a very clear warning.

The independent experts contracted by the United Nations have always noted
that their predictions on Iraq's export capacity depend on the timely
arrival of spare parts and equipment. That isn't happening - to date around
$250 million* of oil sector equipment has actually arrived in Iraq while
$288 million worth remains on hold. ..."

>> Specific Tasks <<

"... On oil spare parts and equipment, paragraph 18 of resolution 1284
proposes a panel of experts to approve contracts in this sector. This issue
was discussed with the Committee last week and in individual meetings with a
number of delegations. There appears to be consensus emerging that this
group should comprise technical experts rather than political appointees and
that it should work as an integral part of the Office of the Iraq Programme.
In this context I would remind the Council that it has been unable to agree
on the appointment of additional oil overseers. From the original four
overseers at the outset of this programme we currently have just one oil
overseer who been working alone since July last year - this is an
unreasonable situation and I would ask Council members to renew their
efforts on this matter. ..."

>> Holds <<

" ... There continues to be a steady increase in both the number of
applications placed on hold and their value. In phases IV to VI there are
currently 1068 applications on hold with a total value of $1.596 billion
dollars. This is 23 per cent of the dollar value of all applications
circulated in these three phases. A small number of high value applications
dominate this picture - 25 applications on hold, mainly in the electricity
sector, account for over $800 million or half of the total value of holds.

In successive reports and letters, the Secretary-General has appealed to
delegations around this table to review this situation with a view to
lifting holds wherever possible in order to improve the implementation of
this programme. To date, there has not been a significant response to those
appeals. ..."

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