The UN on Tuesday asked firms exporting to Iraq under its oil-for-food programme to provide technical information required to clear a 1.1-billion-dollar backlog in contract applications.
In letters to the permanent missions to the United Nations, programme director Benon Sevan said the contracts could not be sent to the Security Council's Iraqi sanctions committee for approval.
"Mr. Sevan asks that suppliers move more quickly in providing such information," the Office of the Iraq programme said in a statement.
The office said, meanwhile, that the lists of items which can be approved by new "fast-track" procedures had been extended to include more than 2,000 items. "These lists have been approved by the (sanctions) committee and are under constant review," it said.
Since the lists were introduced in March, 943 contracts in the food, education, medical, agricultural, basic water and sanitation sectors worth more than 2.13 billion dollars had passed the committee on a notification basis, it said.
The committee had also fast-tracked 56 contracts worth just over 42 million dollars for spare parts and equipment for Iraq's ailing oil industry.
The value of humanitarian contracts placed on hold by the committee, meanwhile, rose to 1.91 billion dollars last week, and the value of oil industry contracts placed on hold increased to 270 million dollars, it said.
"The total value of contracts on hold in all sectors of the programme is now more than 2.18 billion dollars," the office said.
The office said that in the week to October 6, Iraq exported 11.6 million barrels oil for revenue estimated at 305 million dollars.
Since the start of the current 180-day phase of the programme on June 9, the committee has approved 109 contracts for the sale of a total of more than 422 million barrels of Iraqi crude, the office said. Iraq's exports so far in this phase amounted to 246.8 million barrels of oil for revenue of just over 6.2 billion dollars, it said. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)