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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 at 6:02PM :

In Reply to: "France proposes suspending U.N. sanctio posted by Sadie from ? ( on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 at 2:19PM :

Why doesn't the U.N. lift all sanctions imposed on Iraq *except* those that cover the oil-for-food program & only lift the sanctions that affect the sale of oil after weapons inspections by a U.N. team?

Oh, wait a minute - that would NEVER happen while Negroponte & Bush are around. Bush & Negroponte just can't wait to get their grubby hands on that oil! They'd LOVE to let people starve & die from curable diseases under a frozen/non-existent economy until they get their way.
France Meets U.S. Halfway on Iraq Sanctions Lift

Tuesday, April 22, 2003; 5:01 PM

By Evelyn Leopold and Irwin Arieff

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - In a surprise move, France on Tuesday backed an immediate suspension of U.N. sanctions against Iraq, meeting the United States half way in its drive to get the embargoes lifted.

But France's U.N. ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, said the U.N. oil-for-food program, which collects Iraq's oil revenues, should be kept under U.N. control for the time being but adjusted to Iraq's current needs.

"We should immediately suspend the sanctions," de la Sabliere said. "And about the oil-for-food program, we think there should be some adjustment to the program with a view to phasing out this program."

De la Sabliere said that financial and some trade sanctions needed to be suspended to enable Iraq to get back on its feet.

The Bush administration wants the sanctions lifted entirely and reacted coolly to the French proposals.

Unlike Russia, France did not insist that U.N. arms inspectors first verify Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction before there could be movement on sanctions.

"The lifting of the sanctions, which is, I think the objective of all of us, is linked to the certification of the disarmament of Iraq," de la Sabliere said. "Meanwhile we could suspend the sanctions and adjust the oil for food program with the idea of phasing it out."

The embargoes were imposed in August 1990 shortly after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

The oil-for-food program, which comes up for renewal in June, is the key to Iraq's spending oil revenues for reconstruction after the U.S.-led invasion that deposed President Saddam Hussein's government. Oil proceeds are deposited in a U.N. escrow account out of which food, medicine and other civilian goods for Iraq are purchased.

The French ambassador made the comments to reporters after a closed-door Security Council meeting called to hear a briefing by chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and discuss the Iraq crisis for the first time since the end of the war.

But the United States, in contrast to other council members including Britain, is cool to Blix, who will retire on June 30. Instead it is recruiting former U.N. inspectors from the United States, Britain and Australia to verify any discovery of banned weapons by the military.


John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said sanctions should be lifted rather than suspended as soon as possible and "we look forward to working together with the delegation of France and other delegations toward that end."

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher was cooler, saying, "It may be a move sort of in the right direction, some beginning of understanding that the situation is different. But the situation is so much different that there is no reason for the sanctions any more."

Negroponte reaffirmed that the return of the U.N. inspection unit Blix heads, the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), was not foreseen.

"The coalition has assumed responsibility for disarming of Iraq," Negroponte said. "Now that there is a somewhat more permissive military environment the coalition effort will be substantially increased and expanded."

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Sergei Lavrov made it clear that Security Council resolutions tie the lifting or suspension of sanctions to verification by inspectors that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, or WMDs.

"We are not at all opposing lifting of sanctions. What we are insisting on is that Security Council resolutions must be implemented," Lavrov told reporters. But he said he was "ready to discuss the French proposal."

"We all want to know that there are no WMDs in Iraq, and the only way to verify it is to have inspectors in Iraq and to see for themselves and to report back to the Security Council. As soon as they deliver their report the sanctions could be lifted," he said.

With the Bush administration ignoring a U.N. role in postwar Iraq, Blix has been faulted by U.S. officials for not coming up with a "smoking gun" on Baghdad's dangerous weapons, a prime reason for the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

"We may not be the only ones in the world who have credibility but I do think we have credibility for being objective and independent," Blix told reporters.

He denied he was in competition with whatever the United States planned on inspection in Iraq but noted that UNMOVIC had an enormous database with information on what had been said and found in Iraq in the past.

Blix said inspectors called in by the United States would be objective.

"But at the same time I am also convinced that the world and the Security Council (would) like to have the inspection and verification bear the imprint of independence and of some institution that is authorized by the whole international community," Blix said.

-- Sadie
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