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Economic Sanctions against Iraq Lifted after 13 Years

Posted May. 08, 2003 22:06,   


The U.S. lifted major sanctions against Iraq on May 7, and is planning to submit a U.N. resolution that eliminates the economic blockade on Iraq to allow for a resumption of oil exports by May 8.

Humanitarian aid organizations have been demanding quick action be taken on the grounds that 1.5 million deaths have occurred due to the lack of medicine and medical care in the country. The move on the part of the U.S., however, shows that it has more interest in appropriating oil export money to reconstruction costs rather than for humanitarian assistance.

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow announced on Wednesday that “some economic sanctions imposed against Iraq are to be lifted.” President Bush requested the lifting of sanctions, which were imposed 13 years ago by his father after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

“Lifting the sanctions is an essential step in providing much-needed humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people and of commencing the reconstruction process,” declared Mr. Snow on Wednesday. Several restrictions remain, however in terms of licenses. Certain items of concern to national security will require a special license from the government.

The U.S., Britain, and Spain plan to submit a resolution on May 8, at the earliest which removes the trade embargo against Iraq, allows the country to control its oil production and gradually eliminates the oil-for-food program, the Washington Post reported on May 7. The U.S. is planning to lift sanctions before June 3 when the U.N.’s oil for food program is reviewed. The U.S. is already circulating a draft of the resolution, Reuters and the New York Times reported.

“On the resolution lifting sanctions on Iraq, it says that the U.S. should also take an important role in the reconstruction of Iraq,” said Secretary of State Colin Powell after a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The resolution insists on discontinuing the oil-for-food program gradually over 4 months and organizing an international advisory body which allows Mr. Annan, representatives of the World Bank, and the IMF supervise transactions of oil exports.

France, Germany and Russia, which insisted on UN-led arms inspections in Iraq before the lifting of economic sanctions now appears to be more flexible as the resolution insists that the UN take a more important role. Oil negotiations, however, will not go that smoothly. The two billion dollars that the past Iraqi government owed France and Russia, respectively, will be a pivotal issue in the negotiations.