Iraq Halts Oil Exports

Published June 4th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Iraq halted oil exports under UN control at 0400 GMT on Monday to protest against US-British efforts to impose "smart sanctions" on Baghdad, sources at the oil ministry told AFP. 

"Crude exports stopped at 8:00 am (0400 GMT)," a source said. 

Iraq announced Saturday that it would stop exports, apart from road tanker deliveries to neighbors Jordan and Turkey, after rejecting a one-month extension to the UN oil-for-food programmed decided by the Security Council on June 1. 

Oil Minister Amr Rashid explained Sunday that Iraq would only resume UN-supervised oil exports if the United Nations renewed for a regular six months the oil-for-food deal. 

The renewal should not be "linked to the US-British project" to modify the embargo in force since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Rashid insisted. 

Britain has put forward a draft resolution that would abolish the embargo on civilian trade with Iraq, while tightening a weapons ban and controls on smuggling outside the oil-for-food deal. 

The proposals include the opening of escrow accounts in Iran, Jordan, Syria and Turkey to finance cross-border trade and to halt the highly profitable smuggling of oil. 

 

KUWAIT VOWS STABILITY  

 

OPEC member Kuwait said on Sunday it will work to avert oil market disorder due to a decision by former occupier Iraq to halt oil exports, reported the Gulf Daily News. 

“Kuwait will not allow Iraq to upset peace and stability and create intense chaos in the world oil market,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shaikh Mohammad Al Salem Al Sabah said.  

Shaikh Mohammad was speaking upon his return home from Saudi Arabia where he attended a meeting by six Gulf Arab states, said the paper.  

He did not say what measures his country was willing to take.  

But Riyadh, the world’s biggest oil exporter with sufficient production capacity to cover a cut by Iraq, pledged to step in with fellow OPEC members to fill the void resulting from stoppage of Iraq’s oil supplies. 

OPEC ministers arriving in Vienna Sunday aimed at reassuring world oil markets by keeping production at current levels. 

OPEC, which produces 40 percent of the world’s crude, has been widely expected to maintain its current production quotas at this weeks meeting, arguing that crude prices are basically under control, said the paper. 

OPEC Secretary General Ali Rodriguez of Venezuela, speaking informally to reporters, said there would be no speculation over what OPEC would do. 

But he hinted there was a possibility that the organization would raise its output to counter the Iraqi decision, the paper quoted him as saying. 

Before the Iraqi move, OPEC insisted there was no need to further open its taps, blaming a recent surge in prices on a bottleneck in refining capacity in the US - Albawaba.com 

 

 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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