Iraq keeps up suspense on resumption of oil exports
Iraq on Wednesday, July 4, kept up the suspense on the timing of a resumption of crude exports following a month-long halt in protest at planned "smart" sanctions that have now been shelved.
Iraq's response to a new UN Security Council resolution on a five-month extension to the oil-for-food program was "still being studied", the minister of state for foreign affairs, Naji Sabri, told AFP.
“We will announce our position according to our national interests."
The official news agency INA said the Iraqi leadership chaired a meeting on "the latest political developments in the evil project of the United States, Britain and France, and what has been decided in the Security Council".
After shelving plans for smart sanctions, the Security Council on Tuesday decided to extend the oil-for-food deal by five months without mention of the sanctions reforms.
Iraq, under embargo since invading Kuwait in August 1990 but authorized to sell crude under the humanitarian program, suspended more than two million barrels per day of oil exports on June 4 in protest at the proposed reforms.
Sabri said the shelving of smart sanctions was "a step forward in our struggle against the dishonorable war being waged against us by the United States and Britain".
Baghdad's goal was "a total and unconditional lifting of the embargo," he reiterated, while the oil-for-food deal was only "a temporary measure and not an alternative to the lifting of sanctions".
A Western diplomat posted in Baghdad predicted that Iraq would soon resume oil exports following the extension.
Tuesday's resolution was "in line with" Iraq's terms to renew the program, he told AFP. "The resolution makes no mention of anything that could raise objections from Iraq about resuming crude exports."
The text contained only cross-references by number to previous resolutions, but wording that would have expressed the council's "determination to agree to a new system" of sanctions was dropped.
In London, the price of oil ticked up on Wednesday morning as the market focus switched away from Iraq's missing exports and turned instead to falling US crude reserves.
A barrel of Brent North Sea crude for August delivery rose 20 cents to $25.56 in early deals, recovering after declines in the previous two sessions.— (AFP)
© Agence France Presse
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)