The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
UN gives the nod to revamp its oil-for-food programme By Mark Turner at the United Nations Published: March 28 2003 19:48 | Last Updated: March 28 2003 19:48 http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1048313282240 The United Nations Security Council on Friday voted unanimously in favour of temporary measures to revamp Iraq's oil-for-food programme, as UN aid agencies appealed for $2.2bn (£1.4bn) in emergency funds over the next six months. Advertisement The oil-for-food resolution allows the UN secretary-general to rejig approximately $10bn worth of agreed contracts, and a further $5bn, approved but not paid for, to address the immediate humanitarian needs of Iraqis. It also introduces more flexibility into a tightly-defined system of entry points and bank accounts. It comes amid UN warnings that the plight of Iraqis "is likely to become desperate as distribution systems are disrupted", and that "prolonged hostilities may result in a serious humanitarian crisis". The resolution, agreed unanimously, marked something of a diplomatic coup for Germany. The country proposed the resolution and steered it through acute tensions between the US, Russia and others over the balance it struck between the responsibilities of the occupying powers, the continuing sovereignty of the Iraqi government, and a pragmatic need for the UN to step in and help. The UN's sanctions committee, of national experts, will retain monitoring powers over its implementation. There had also been concerns over a proposal to allow the UN to borrow funds from a Kuwait compensation fund for humanitarian needs. The resolution now expresses an open-ended "readiness" by the UN to use those funds (due to be disbursed in April) "on an exceptional and reimbursable basis". Mohammad Abulhasan, Kuwait's ambassador to the UN, said he supported the idea, as long as the plight of 44,000 people affected by Iraq's previous occupation of Kuwait was not ignored. The final version was co-sponsored by fourteen countries, and while negotiations were tense, they revealed a new ability by the European members of the Security Council in particular to put aside ideological differences to achieve pragmatic ends. But it remained clear that deep disagreements remain over any future UN role for the administration or rebuilding of Iraq, and that further resolutions will be far more difficult. The resolution does not address the future of Iraq's oil industry. Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general, on Friday warned there were "certain red lines" in the council, many of whose members "did not want to see any situation where the UN is subjugated to the authority of a country or several countries". He added: "Some are concerned they should not be placed in a situation where they take action that appears to legitimise the military action ex post facto. We are going to have to determine the relationships between the UN, occupied Iraq and the occupying power; lots of issues will have to be tackled." The UN now faces a big task in managing the oil-for-food contracts, and also in handling separate funds accrued under its emergency appeal. The UN said its $2.2bn appeal, particularly the $1.3bn covering food items, could be cut following the resolution - but was uncertain to what extent. Of the $10.1bn goods in the oil-for-food pipeline, a quarter covers food needs, but of that only $270m are active contracts ready for immediate application. Many of the contracts in the pipeline do not account for the additional emergency needs due to the outbreak of hostilities. UN aid chiefs said any programme will be dependent on the security situation on the ground, and will also rely on the substantial Iraqi-government-run network in the centre and the south. While that network appears to be struggling on, it is unclear in what state the UN will find it once it returns. © Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2003. "FT" and "Financial Times" are trademarks of the Financial Times. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk