Iraq: UN blocking contracts worth $5 billion
The United Nations sanctions committee is blocking 2,139 contracts passed under the oil-for-food program worth more than five billion dollars, Iraq's trade ministry said Wednesday, April 11.
"The sanctions committee, under pressure from US and British representatives, has blocked 2,139 contracts worth $5.326 billion," the official INA news agency quoted a ministry spokesman as saying.
The ministry said 679 of the blocked contracts were in the oil sector, while the electricity and health sectors had 318 and 225 blocked respectively.
The spokesman reiterated Iraq's claim that the humanitarian program could not be a substitute for a lifting of the embargo imposed on Baghdad for invading Kuwait in 1990.
The office of the program said Wednesday that the value of contracts placed on hold by the sanctions committee dipped to $3.43 billion.
Of the total now blocked, 1,127 contracts worth $2.99 billion were for humanitarian supplies and 549 contracts worth $438 million were for oil industry spare parts and equipment.
The UN-supervised oil-for-food program was introduced in 1996 to authorize Baghdad to export crude to finance imports of food, medicine and other essential items for its 22-million population. — (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)