The Secretary-General has written (on 13 May) to the President of the
Security Council giving his approval to a revision of that part of the
distribution plan for the oil for food programme involving telecommunications.
The Secretary-General had withheld approval for expenditure on
telecommunications in the distribution plans submitted by the Government of
Iraq for Phase IV and also for the current Phase V.
Since then the United Nations has sent technical teams to Iraq to work with
the relevant authorities on a revised plan. The Secretary-General says that
the new plan, if properly implemented, should enhance the implementation of
the humanitarian programme throughout Iraq.
The Office of the Iraq Programme advises that it has already received five
contracts worth a total of $88 million dollars for the telecoms equipment.
These contracts, from companies in France and China, will be processed and
circulated to the 661 Committee for consideration.
The Government has proposed spending $92 million dollars on telecoms in
Phase V - the Executive Director of the Iraq Programme, Benon Sevan, has noted
that the amount available will depend on the final revenue raised during Phase
V and the programmes priorities.