24 November 1998


Press Release
SC/6600



SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME TO IRAQ -- 'OIL-FOR-FOOD' -- FOR 180 DAYS BEGINNING ON 26 NOVEMBER

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The Security Council this afternoon decided to extend the programme of humanitarian assistance to Iraq known as "oil-for-food" for a period of 180 days beginning on 26 November at 00:01 a.m. EST. That programme allows Iraq to sell oil to purchase humanitarian goods for the Iraqi people.

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1210 (1998), by which it also decided to continue to permit Iraq to produce up to $5.256 billion worth of petroleum and petroleum products under the programme for the 180-day period.

Further, the Council decided to continue to allow States to export oil production equipment so that Iraq could meet that sum. According to resolution 1175 (1998), up to $300 million may be used to meet expenses related to the export of such equipment. The Council asked the Secretary- General to submit a detailed list of parts and equipment needed for Iraq to produce $5.256 billion worth of oil.

The Council requested the Secretary-General to review, by 31 December, options to resolve financial difficulties in implementing the programme. It also asked the Secretary-General to continue to enhance the observation process in Iraq to assure that goods were distributed equitably and that all supplies for procurement were used as authorized.

The Council also asked him to report at the end of 90 days and 180 days on whether Iraq had ensured the equitable distribution of medicine and food for essential civilian needs. The reports should refer to the adequacy of revenues to meet Iraq's humanitarian needs and its capacity to export sufficient oil to reach the target of $5.256 billion. If Iraq was unable to meet that sum, the Secretary-General was asked to make recommendations on how to spend the expected sum.

The Security Council Committee responsible for monitoring the sanctions against Iraq was asked to report to the Council at the same intervals on the implementation of the oil sales arrangements outlined in resolution 986 (1995).


After receiving the Secretary-General's reports, the Council will review today's resolution and, if it has been implemented satisfactorily, will consider renewing the resolution prior to the end of the 180-day period.

The Council also directed the Security Council Committee to authorize, on the basis of specific requests, reasonable expenses for the Hajj pilgrimage, to be met by funds in the escrow account.

The meeting, which began at 12:45 p.m., was adjourned at 12:50 p.m.

Text of Resolution

The full text of resolution 1210 (1998) (document S/1998/1112), which was sponsored by France, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom, reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, and in particular its resolutions 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, 1111 (1997) of 4 June 1997, 1129 (1997) of 12 September 1997, 1143 (1997) of 4 December 1997, 1153 (1998) of 20 February 1998 and 1175 (1998) of 19 June 1998,

"Convinced of the need as a temporary measure to continue to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people until the fulfilment by the Government of Iraq of the relevant resolutions, including notably resolution 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, allows the Council to take further action with regard to the prohibitions referred to in resolution 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, in accordance with the provisions of those resolutions,

"Convinced also of the need for equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies to all segments of the Iraqi population throughout the country,

"Welcoming the positive impact of the relevant resolutions on the humanitarian situation in Iraq as described in the report of the Secretary- General (S/1998/1100),

"Determined to improve the humanitarian situation in Iraq,

"Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq,

"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

"1. Decides that the provisions of resolution 986 (1995), except those contained in paragraphs 4, 11 and 12, shall remain in force for a new period of 180 days beginning at 00.01 hours, Eastern Standard Time, on 26 November 1998;


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"2. Further decides that paragraph 2 of resolution 1153 (1998) shall remain in force and shall apply to the 180-day period referred to in paragraph 1 above;

"3. Directs the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) to authorize, on the basis of specific requests, reasonable expenses related to the Hajj pilgrimage, to be met by funds in the escrow account;

"4. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to take the actions necessary to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of this resolution, and to review, by 31 December 1998, the various options to resolve the difficulties encountered in the financial process, referred to in the Secretary-General's report of 19 November (S/1998/1100), and to continue to enhance as necessary the United Nations observation process in Iraq in such a way as to provide the required assurance to the Council that the goods produced in accordance with this resolution are distributed equitably and that all supplies authorized for procurement, including dual usage items and spare parts, are utilized for the purpose for which they have been authorized;

"5. Further decides to conduct a thorough review of all aspects of the implementation of this resolution 90 days after the entry into force of paragraph 1 above and again prior to the end of the 180-day period, on receipt of the reports referred to in paragraphs 6 and 10 below, and expresses its intention, prior to the end of the 180-day period, to consider favourably renewal of the provisions of this resolution as appropriate, provided that the said reports indicate that those provisions are being satisfactorily implemented;

"6. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council 90 days after the date of entry into force of paragraph 1 above, and again prior to the end of the 180-day period, on the basis of observations of United Nations personnel in Iraq, and of consultations with the Government of Iraq, on whether Iraq has ensured the equitable distribution of medicine, health supplies, foodstuffs, and materials and supplies for essential civilian needs, financed in accordance with paragraph 8 (a) of resolution 986 (1995), including in his reports any observations which he may have on the adequacy of the revenues to meet Iraq's humanitarian needs, and on Iraq's capacity to export sufficient quantities of petroleum and petroleum products to produce the sum referred to in paragraph 2 of resolution 1153 (1998);

"7. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council if Iraq is unable to export petroleum and petroleum products sufficient to produce the total sum provided for in paragraph 2 above and, following consultations with relevant United Nations agencies and the Iraqi authorities, make recommendations for the expenditure of the sum expected to be available, consistent with the priorities established in paragraph 2 of resolution 1153 (1998) and with the distribution plan referred to in paragraph 5 of resolution 1175 (1998);


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"8. Decides that paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 of resolution 1175 (1998) shall remain in force and shall apply to the new 180-day period referred to in paragraph 1 above;

"9. Requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Government of Iraq, to submit to the Council, by 31 December 1998, a detailed list of parts and equipment necessary for the purpose described in paragraph 1 of resolution 1175 (1998);

"10. Requests the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990), in close coordination with the Secretary-General, to report to the Council 90 days after the entry into force of paragraph 1 above and again prior to the end of the 180-day period on the implementation of the arrangements in paragraphs 1, 2, 6, 8, 9 and 10 of resolution 986 (1995);

"11. Urges all States, and in particular the Government of Iraq, to provide their full cooperation in the effective implementation of this resolution;

"12. Appeals to all States to continue to cooperate in the timely submission of applications and the expeditious issue of export licences, facilitating the transit of humanitarian supplies authorized by the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990), and to take all other appropriate measures within their competence in order to ensure that urgently required humanitarian supplies reach the Iraqi people as rapidly as possible;

"13. Stresses the need to continue to ensure respect for the security and safety of all persons directly involved in the implementation of this resolution in Iraq;

"14. Decides to remain seized of the matter."

Documents before Council

For its consideration of the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, the Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the distribution of humanitarian supplies throughout Iraq and developments in the implementation of the "oil-for-food" programme since 1 September. Also before the Council was a letter from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) to monitor the sanctions against Iraq.

In his report to the Council, the Secretary-General recommends that the relevant provisions of resolution 1153 (1998) be extended for a further 180- day period (document S/1998/1100). By that resolution, the Council decided to permit the export of up to $5.256 billion in Iraqi oil and oil products to avoid a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Iraq.


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The Secretary-General states that despite the increase in the volume of exports of oil, the financial target of $3.1 billion required for the implementation of the enhanced distribution plan has not been met owing to low oil prices. The full implementation of the plan would have permitted a multisectoral approach to malnutrition and would have helped in preventing further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

While the programme has continued to provide a more adequate food basket to the Iraqi people, the full nutritional benefit of extra foodstuffs has not yet been realized, the report states, adding that regrettably, no applications for targeted nutrition supplies have been received by the Secretariat to date.

Domestic food production in the centre and south of Iraq continues to suffer major shortages of inputs, and food prices have risen, to the disadvantage of the poor, the report says. Food production in the three northern governorates, however, has increased substantially, and food prices on the open market there have continued to decline. Although an increase of supplies has expanded the range of medical treatment available, preventive health care has not received appropriate attention, the Secretary-General says. Urgently needed essential drugs are still not available on a regular basis, and there are major problems in distributing hospital equipment received under the programme. Electricity, water and sanitation sectors have been experiencing similar problems. Increased quantities of chlorinated water are being produced, but the decaying distribution network precludes guaranteed safe drinking water. Water-borne diseases continue to be a major threat. Because of limited funding, there can be no short-term solutions to the accelerating deterioration in the power generation and distribution systems.

The Secretary-General says that present funding constraints are likely to continue. For the current phase, revenues will reach an estimated $3.15 billion. After deductions stipulated in resolution 986 (1995), $1.98 billion will be available for the humanitarian programme, including $300 million for oil spare parts and equipment. He regrets the delays in the pace of approvals for spare parts and equipment. Expressing the hope that the Security Council Committee will expedite the approval of applications essential for the increase of oil production and exports, he urges the Government of Iraq to further prioritize its request for spare parts and equipment with a view to enhancing its oil-export capacity.

The failure to reach the target of $3.1 billion for the implementation of the enhanced distribution plan has been compounded by the increased level of funds due for reimbursement for bulk procurement of food and medicine, which now totals $237,588,447, the report states, stressing that this matter must be resolved to improve the pace of implementation and effectiveness of the programme. The Office of the Iraq Programme is reviewing various options to resolve the difficulties encountered, it adds.


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The letter from the Committee Chairman (document S/1998/1104) contains a report on implementation of second 90-day period of phase IV of the oil-for- food programme established by resolution 986 (1995).

According to the report, as of 20 November, the overseers had reviewed and approved a total of 55 contracts, involving purchasers from 27 countries. The total quantity of oil approved for export under those contracts corresponds to approximately 308 million barrels for phase IV . At current low prices, total revenue for the whole of phase IV is estimated at $3.1 billion (including pipeline fees).

As in previous phases, the report says, the Committee attached a high priority to processing contracts for supplying humanitarian goods to Iraq during the 90-day period of phase IV. As of 20 November, 547 contracts totalling approximately $1.39 billion were found eligible for payment from the United Nations Iraqi account. Of those, 483 letters of approval have been released based on the availability of funds and the remaining 64 are still waiting for sufficient funds to become available from the Account.

At the beginning of phase IV, the Committee agreed to introduce a simplified procedure for applications for foodstuffs. However, because of the lack of pricing mechanism to be submitted by the Iraqi Government, the arrangement has not been implemented and applications for foodstuffs have been processed according to standard procedures.

The Committee continues to be concerned about the issue of reimbursement of the 53 per cent account from the 13 per cent account for joint purchases. As of 20 November, $229 million remained to be reimbursed from the 13 per cent account to the 53 per cent account.

[The 53 per cent account covers aid to central and southern Iraq administered by the Government and overseen by the United Nations. The 13 per cent account covers aid for the three northern governorates implemented by the United Nations agencies.]

On 8 July, the Committee began approving contracts for Iraq to import spare parts and equipment to enable it to increase exports to produce $5.2 billion within the framework of $300 million earmarked for that purpose under resolution 1175 (1998). As of 20 November, 152 contracts have been approved with a total value of $102.8 million.

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