|Friday, 9 May 2003|
US presses for lifting of international sanctions
NEW YORK, Thursday (AFP) The United States said Wednesday it would lift some sanctions against Iraq immediately and put a draft resolution this week to the UN Security Council to end the international embargo.
President George W. Bush appealed for support to end the UN sanctions and indicated a more conciliatory attitude toward France, Germany, Russia and China, which opposed the war.
"The regime that the sanctions were directed against no longer rules Iraq, and no country in good conscience can support using sanctions to hold back the hopes of the Iraqi people," he said at a press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.
In New York, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States would put a draft resolution to UN Security Council members this week aiming to help build a new government in Iraq.
"It will lift the sanctions to that end and I think it's a resolution that everybody will be able to rally around," he said.
The US-led invasion of Iraq on March 20 bitterly divided the UN Security Council, but Powell said the draft was "forward-looking" and "will unite the international community to help the people of Iraq to a better life."
But Powell said the United States was working to include Germany, France, Russia and China on the new resolution. "Whatever happened in the past is in the past," Powell said. "We are not now talking about a matter of war. We're talking about a matter of peace, a matter of hope. We're talking about helping the Iraqi people, and this resolution has that as its singular purpose," he added.
Powell, speaking after a meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, said the resolution would also "give a role to the United Nations to play - the vital role that President Bush has spoken of."
Bush said: "We believe there is a mood to work together to achieve a resolution that will expedite the reconstruction of Iraq.
"The read from at least our diplomats at the United Nations is that the kind of atmosphere that existed prior to the war has changed, and that people now want to work together for the good of the Iraqi people," he said.
The United States has already moved to ease its own sanctions imposed against Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War.
Bush said he was suspending the Iraq Sanctions Act, which restricts the export of equipment necessary for Iraq's reconstruction.
He added that he had ordered Treasury Secretary John Snow "to relax administrative sanctions on American companies and citizens conducting business in Iraq that contributes to humanitarian relief and reconstruction."
Snow said "the lifting of sanctions is an essential step in providing for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people and of commencing the reconstruction process." He said the US government would also allow: humanitarian aid supplies to be sent to Iraq. US residents to send up to 500 dollars per month to Iraq. privately funded humanitarian activities by US-based organizations.
Powell would not go into details of the draft UN resolution, but the Washington Post, citing senior administration officials, said it would place Iraq's oil revenues under US control until an interim authority is established.
The UN role would be limited, with control exercised by the United States and its military allies until a permanent representative Iraqi government is in place, the daily said.
The United States and Britain have been pressing for an end to the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq in August 1990 after its invasion of Kuwait. Russia and France, two other permanent members of the UN Security Council, have argued that such a move would only be appropriate when UN weapons inspectors have established that Iraq has no banned nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
Moscow and Paris also fear an end to sanctions would effectively hand control of Iraq's immense oil reserves, the second largest in the world after Saudi Arabia's, to the United States.
Produced by Lake House