Iraq Slams UN Claims on its Reliability as Crude Source
Iraq on Friday rejected UN claims that the world oil market had lost faith in it as a reliable crude supplier after Baghdad halted exports for more than a week in a price row with the United Nations.
The Ath-Thawra daily, mouthpiece of President Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath party, said UN spokesman Fred Eckhard had "no right" to comment on Iraq's relations with its oil clients.
"Eckhard is not an oil expert or a businessman, but works for the United Nations, and his work must be in line with the mandate of that organization," the paper said.
"Client confidence in Iraq is not determined by Mr. Eckhard or the United Nations ... but rather is determined by the credibility of Baghdad," the daily said.
Baghdad halted exports of some 2.4 million barrels of crude a day in a row over the UN-run "food-for-oil" program, which allows the sanctions-hit state to export crude in six-month phases to purchase essential goods.
The eighth phase of the four-year-old program ended on December 1, and exports did not continue immediately after a row erupted over a pricing formula Iraq proposed for its exports.
Eckhard said Friday UN oil overseers had resolved the dispute but added that there had been "a considerable erosion of confidence in Iraq as a reliable source of oil supply."
Iraq agreed to accept the ninth phase of the program although Foreign Minister Mohamad Said al-Sahhaf slammed the deal as "negative and unbalanced" -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)