Official: Iraq Threatens to Halt Oil Exports over UN Money
Iraq could suspend oil exports if the United Nations fails to convert to euros billions of Iraqi dollars blocked in special account, the central bank's deputy governor told a weekly published Thursday.
"Iraq may suspend crude exports if the United Nations refuses to reply favorably to its request to convert into euros its account at the French bank BNP," deputy governor Abdel al-Ilah Boutros told Al-Zawra.
Iraqi Finance Minister Hekmat Ibrahim al-Azzawi announced last month a decision to ditch the dollar in foreign trade transactions.
"The dollar is the currency of an enemy state, and must be abandoned for other currencies, including the euro," Azzawi said.
The central bank announced Sunday it had begun to buy European currencies.
Since December 1996 the United Nations has allowed Iraq to sell oil to pay for imports of food and medicine. Under the decade-old sanctions regime none of the revenue is allowed to pass through Iraqi government hands.
Instead, it is paid into an escrow account at BNP-Paribas, which is paid a fee for operating the account -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)