Iraq has exported crude oil earning more than 29 billion dollars, representing more than 1.8 billion barrels, since the start of the Oil-for-Food program at the end of 1996, the United Nations said.
"Since the inception of the program on December 10th 1996, Iraq has exported nearly 1.845 billion barrels with a value of 29.36 billion dollars," the UN office in Baghdad said.
"During the period June 10th to 16th Iraq exported 13.9 million barrels of oil for revenue estimated around 342 million dollars," it added, referring to the start of phase eight of the program, which is aimed at easing the effects of the embargo imposed on Iraq since 1990.
It allows the country to sell crude oil to buy food, medicines and essential items under strict UN control.
Iraqi foreign minister Mohamed Said Sahhaf said the country has accepted the latest renewal of the six-month UN Oil-for-Food program, according to an Iraqi newspaper Tuesday.
"The renewal of the program on each occasion is a matter of routine which is accepted by both sides (Iraq and the UN), given that we have been subjected to an embargo" since 1990, said Sahhaf, according to the Iraqi weekly al-Rafidain.
"When the eighth stage of the program takes effect, the Iraqi government will seek to use the Iraqi funds (resulting from sales of crude), which are not a gift, to answer the needs of the population in various areas," the Iraqi minister added.
It is the first time Iraq has announced its acceptance of the extension of the humanitarian program since it was renewed by the UN June 8th.
Iraqi oil minister Amer Rashid recently said the country's oil production was now at 3.1 million barrels a day, and he hoped it would reach 3.3 million by the end of the year - UNITED NATIONS (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)