Posted by D from 126.96.36.199.cfl.rr.com (188.8.131.52) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 10:41PM :
US keeps control of Iraqi oil
By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS
UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UN JOHN NEGROPONTE (RIGHT) AND BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UN JEREMY GREENSTOCK (CENTER) CAST THEIR VOTES WITH THE SEAT FOR SYRIA (LEFT) VACANT. PHOTO: CHIP EAST
In order to get strong UN support, the United States made some concessions in its quest to lift 13-year-old trade sanctions against Iraq.
But the new resolution still gives the United States and Britain wide-ranging powers to run Iraq and control its oil industry until a permanent government is established, which could take years.
The text seeks to accommodate some of the criticism by France, Russia, China and other UN Security Council members, particularly what they see as an attempt to sideline the United Nations but obtain privileges the world body has under international law.
The council Thursday voted 14-0 to pass the amended US-British draft resolution, which lifted 13 years of sanctions on Iraq in force since its invasion of Kuwait.
Without UN action to lift the sanctions, imposed when Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait in 1990, Washington would have been in a legal no man's land, with many firms unwilling to engage in trade with Iraq, and oil exports open to lawsuits.
Russia's UN Ambassador Sergei Lavrov said he "welcomed the mood of the co-sponsors to really try their best to respond to as many questions as they can". But he said council members wanted "more clarity" at the lack of any time limit or renewal of the resolution.
In deference to Russia, which was favored in contracts by the ousted government of President Saddam Hussein, the resolution phases out the existing UN-run oil and civilian supply network over six months instead of four months.
Troubling to international law experts is the rewriting of the 1949 Geneva Conventions on the duties of occupying powers, such as the United States and Britain. They are not supposed to create a new permanent government or commit Iraq to long-term contracts, such as oil exploration, under the Geneva treaties.
"The United States is asking the Security Council to authorize it to do a series of things that would otherwise violate international law under the guise of ending sanctions," said Morton Halperin, a former State Department official and director of the Open Society Institute in Washington.
"The purpose of this resolution is to relieve the United States of both its obligations and the limits of what it can do as an occupying power under international law by having the Security Council supersede the requirements of the Geneva Convention," he said.
THIRD DRAFT OF UN RESOLUTION ON IRAQ
Following are highlights of the third draft of a US-drafted UN Security Council resolution on Iraq:
Lift all trade and financial sanctions. Only an arms embargo would remain.
The US and Britain submitted letters to the Security Council recognizing their obligations as occupying powers.
Establish a 'Development Fund for Iraq' to be held by the Central Bank of Iraq. There would be an International Advisory and Monitoring Board composed of the UN, the IMF, the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development, and the World Bank. Proceeds from oil sales go into the Development Fund.
Five percent of oil revenues are to be deposited into a compensation fund for claims dating from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
The resolution phases out the current UN oil-for-food program.
All monies from Iraq's oil sales or those in the Development Fund are immune from claims and lawsuits until 2008 unless the Security Council decides otherwise.
The document asks for the Paris Club (a group of 19 wealthy nations) to restructure Iraq's debt.
A high-level special representative would be named to would "work intensively" with the US and Britain.
The resolution remains in place until an internationally recognized government is established, which could take years.
The Security Council could 'revisit' the mandates of UN weapons inspectors since 1991.
All nations are asked to watch out for, return, and prohibit trade in Iraq's looted cultural properties.
The resolution asks the UN to continue seeking the return of missing Kuwaiti property and prisoners.
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