US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright denied Sunday that the United States uses Iraqi oil, despite Energy Department statistics pinpointing Iraq as its sixth largest supplier. Asked, in an interview with ABC television, whether the United States used oil from Iraq, Albright said: "I do not believe so. I do not think so.
"You know, the truth is that we have a lot of the money that (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein now gets out of the oil," she said, pointing out that Iraq's oil "goes for oil-for-food and not military equipment."
According to the US Energy Department, however, Iraq is the sixth-largest provider of oil to the United States which, in the first seven months of 2000, bought 585,000 barrels per day of Iraqi crude oil.
The figure represents some 5.4 percent of US crude imports.
The United States' five major oil providers are Canada, which supplies 15.4 percent of US oil imports, Saudi Arabia with 13.7 percent, Venezuela with 13.5 percent, Mexico with 12.4 percent and Nigeria, supplying eight percent.
Iraq -- which sees the United States as the driving force behind the embargo imposed against it since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait -- is authorized to sell oil under strict United Nations supervision in the "oil-for-food" program.
Iraq has sold more than 34.5 billion dollars' worth of oil, more than two billion barrels, since that program was instituted in December 1996, according to the United Nations. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)