Dispute Arises at UN on Iraqi Debt for Oil Losses by Kuwaitis
A dispute pitting the United States against Russia and France over Iraqi reparations to a Kuwaiti oil company has for the first time stymied the work of a United Nations compensation commission set up after the 1991 Persian Gulf war, reported New York Times Wednesday.
According to the US paper, at stake is a large claim of $21.6 billion submitted by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation for lost oil and gas sales resulting from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, during which oil wells were destroyed or damaged.
The compensation commission, based in Geneva, proposed in June that the Kuwait company be awarded $15.9 billion. Russia and France objected, and no award was made, the daily added.
Diplomats were quoted as saying the United States is lobbying to line up support for Kuwait before a vote on the issue that may be held at the commission's next meeting, late next month.
Until now, all decisions by the commission have made been by consensus on the advice of experts. The 15-member panel, made up of representatives from Security Council countries, is expected to award claims as income from Iraqi oil sales becomes available, the report added.
The disagreement adds another irritant to an already frayed Security Council consensus on how to deal with the government of Iraq as economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait a decade ago drag on.
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz was reported Wednesday as reiterating his country’s refusal to deal with the UN weapons inspection team, formed last December.
The new dispute over war reparations reopens another divisive debate in a second important area, the oil-for-food program.
The program is an exception to the embargo under which Iraq is permitted to sell oil abroad to pay for the imports of essential civilian goods.
But Iraq says the UN program is not satisfying its needs for essential goods and complains of large deductions by the UN, that go to compensations and expenditures of international personnel working in the country – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)