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Iraq Threatens Oil Stoppage Over UN Oil-Food Plan
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iraq said on Thursday it would stop oil flows if the U.N. Security Council approved only a one-month extension to the current U.N. oil-for-food humanitarian program. Council members currently are contemplating a short extension of the program, which expires on Sunday, in order to consider U.S.-British proposals that would revamp the plan by easing sanctions on imports of civilian goods while tightening military-related supplies.
Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, told reporters that if the council adopted a new resolution with a one-month extension "Iraq will not conclude any oil contract based on it, and this resolution for us will be just another dead resolution."
The United States and Britain wanted to overhaul the oil-for-food program to include its new approach to the sanctions, imposed in August 1990 when Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait.
But the two allies failed to get support from Russia and China to put the plan in place and instead appeared to have secured agreement for a one-month delay while council members continue negotiations.
The full 15-member council has to vote by midnight on Sunday, when the current phase of the oil-for-food plan lapses. That program, a major exemption to the sanctions, puts money from Iraqi oil sales into a U.N. escrow account out of which the United Nations pays suppliers of goods Baghdad orders.
Copyright 2001 Reuters News Service
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), May 31, 2001