Iraq's Trade Minister Mohammad Mehdi Saleh said Monday that Arab countries accounted for half of the sanctions-hit country's external trade under the UN oil-for-food program.
"Iraq's trade with Arab countries has reached 14.5 billion dollars, or 50 percent of its external trade," since the humanitarian programme was introduced in 1996, Saleh said, quoted by the official INA news agency.
The minister said Egypt was the top Arab trading partner with 3.5 billion dollars, followed by Jordan with 2.8 billion, the United Arab Emirates with 2.6 billion dollars and Syria with 1.5 billion.
Russia remained Iraq's largest trading partner with trade worth 5.5 billion dollars, according to Saleh.
The oil-for-food programme allows Iraq to sell crude under UN supervision to meet the humanitarian needs of its people, who have been hard hit by the sanctions imposed on the country since Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait -- AFP
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