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Bush Seeks End to U.N. Sanctions on Iraq Wed April 16, 2003 03:58 PM ET By Randall Mikkelsen http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=OI2FVUWSDWSCYCRBAE0CFFA?type=topNews&storyID=2579031 ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - President Bush on Wednesday urged the United Nations to lift economic sanctions on Iraq, a move which would clear the way for the country to sell oil to help pay for post-war reconstruction. "Now that Iraq is liberated the United Nations should lift economic sanctions on that country," Bush told about 1,000 workers in an often politically flavored speech at a Boeing jet fighter plant. At the United Nations, diplomats said that an end to sanctions should depend on the world body certifying that Iraq is free of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, one of the reasons Washington gave for the war. The United States intends to propose a resolution to lift the sanctions "in the near future," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. The U.S. ambassador at the United Nations John Negroponte told reporters Washington was still working on the specifics of how sanctions would be lifted, but added: "I think we envision some sort of step-by-step procedure." A vote by the U.N. Security Council, where war opponents France and Russia hold veto power, is required to lift the sanctions. U.S. officials have said they do not expect these countries to pose any obstacles. At the U.N. Security Council diplomats said discussions among its 15 member-nations including the United States could begin next Tuesday with a briefing from chief weapons inspector Hans Blix. SANCTIONS LINKED TO WEAPONS The diplomats hinted that the key to lifting sanctions might depend on a U.S. willingness to readmit U.N. arms inspectors. Under existing council resolutions, before the sanctions can be lifted, U.N. inspectors must certify that Iraq is free of all weapons of mass destruction. The United States has so far resisted opening the door to a return of the inspectors who were pulled out shortly before the war started. But other council members say letting the United States pursue the inspection process would lack credibility in the international community. The sanctions, imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, currently prohibit countries from buying Iraqi oil or selling goods to Iraq other than through an U.N.-administered oil-for-food program. Bush's speech, in a politically important state that is home to Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Richard Gephardt, touted successes of the four-week-old war on Iraq in a way that foreshadowed likely themes of his 2004 reelection campaign. Bush narrowly won Missouri in 2000. Bush associated the Iraq war with the war against terrorism. "Since September the 11th we've been engaged in a global war against terror ... that war continues and we are winning," he said to applause from the Boeing factory workers. It was his first civilian audience on a trip outside Washington since the war began 27 days ago but the war theme was evident in the F/A-18 fighter jet that flanked Bush at the plant. Bush's early reelection campaigning and fund-raising have been delayed by the war. But now, in addition to touting successes in Iraq, Bush has stepped up promotion of his economic agenda. BUSH'S TAX CUT He urged Congress to quickly pass his proposed tax cut, saying the country needed the economic stimulus. On Monday Bush scaled back his goal for the cut, originally $726 billion, to $550 billion, due to congressional opposition to bigger cuts. "In order for all Americans who are looking for work to find work, the Congress must pass this jobs' package as soon as they come back from their recess," Bush said. Bush's father, former President George Bush, lost a reelection bid after being criticized as indifferent to economic woes after the 1991 Gulf War, teaching an oft-cited lesson to his son. Gephardt responded to Bush's appearance with a statement saying, "All that President Bush has to offer those workers and other Americans struggling in this bad economy is more unaffordable, unsustainable and patently unfair tax cuts." Before leaving for St. Louis, Bush signed a $79 billion package to pay for the war in Iraq. He stopped in St. Louis on his way to spend the Easter holiday at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Copyright Reuters _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk