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The BBC's Greg Barrow
reports from the United Nations
 real 56k

Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 22:57 GMT 23:57 UK
Iraq escapes 'smart sanctions'
An Iraqi boy carries sacks of wheat flour in a Baghdad market
Iraq claims victory over efforts to revise sanctions
The United Nations Security Council has approved a routine extension of the Iraq oil-for-food programme after Russia defeated plans to revamp the 11-year embargo on Baghdad.

The unanimous vote came shortly before midnight on Tuesday - the expiry deadline of the programme, which allows Iraq to export oil and buy civilian goods to offset the effects of sanctions introduced after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Discussion about new ways to resolve the Iraqi problem... must take account of all existing proposals, including those issued by Russia

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ordzhonikidze
Haggling continued right to the end, with Russia insisting that all mention of the US-UK proposals for "smart sanctions" be deleted.

In the end one oblique reference to discussions of the proposals was inserted among a series of resolutions pertaining to the oil-for food programme.

As late as Tuesday afternoon Moscow was adamant it could not accept a British attempt to call for further discussion of the changes.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ordzhonikidze said Russia wanted the programme "extended without any linkage".

Unable to win necessary Russian support for their plan, the US and Britain had agreed late on Monday to go for the regular extension of current arrangements - something Iraq had been calling for all along.

Russia had made it known it wanted measures allowing for the suspension of sanctions once Iraq agreed to a resumption of monitoring to ensure it had no weapons of mass destruction.

It also wanted to include the prospect of ultimately lifting the sanctions.

No support

On Monday, the Security Council delayed a decision on the issue after its 15 members failed to reach agreement on the draft resolution being pushed by Britain and the United States.

The US-British resolution would have eased sanctions on civilian goods getting into the country, but would have also tightened controls on smuggling oil and prohibited weapons.

Russia, Iraq's closest ally on the council, however, said it would veto the plan, which was vehemently opposed by the Iraqi Government.

Before 1990, Russia supplied Baghdad with weaponry worth billions of dollars to be repaid with oil.

Correspondents say the cash-strapped giant's only hope of seeing at least some of that debt repaid is if sanctions are lifted and Russian firms allowed to invest in Iraqi oilfields.

Iraq cut off oil sales on 4 June in protest at the US-British plan.

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See also:

03 Jul 01 | Middle East
UN delays Iraq sanctions plan
02 Jul 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Iraq wins sanctions battle
29 Jun 01 | Middle East
Iraq outburst over UN sanctions
27 Jun 01 | Middle East
UN deadlock over Iraq sanctions
26 Jun 01 | Middle East
Russia resists new Iraq sanctions
05 Jun 01 | Middle East
UN debates Iraq sanctions
27 Feb 01 | Middle East
Powell's new plans for Iraq
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