21 December 2009 The Security Council today renewed for another year a development fund set up immediately after the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 to meet the country’s humanitarian needs, economic reconstruction and infrastructure repairs.
In a letter to the 15-member body earlier this month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamel al-Maliki asked that the Development Fund for Iraq be extended pending new arrangements to be formulated next year to ensure that oil revenue continues to be used fairly and in the interests of the Iraqi people in keeping with international best practices with respect to transparency, accountability and integrity.
The Council set up the trust fund in May 2003 so that oil and other revenues could be paid into it, to be disbursed at the discretion of the then US-led Provisional Authority for humanitarian and economic reconstruction, replacing the previous oil-for-food programme that allowed the sanctions-bound Saddam Hussein government to use some oil revenues for the monitored purchase of humanitarian supplies.
As of the end of 2008, the Fund had received nearly $180 billion from oil exports, the balance of the oil-for-food funds held under escrow by the UN and proceeds from frozen assets, according to a recent report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“During the remainder of 2009 and in 2010, we will take action to recover the international financial standing of Iraq while at the same time managing oil and gas revenues in order to benefit the people of Iraq,” Mr. al–Maliki wrote in his letter, stressing that such goals cannot be achieved without the continued assistance of the international community in extending the Fund.
In its unanimously adopted resolution today, the Council noted the Prime Minister’s reaffirmation of the Government’s commitment to resolve debts and settle claims inherited from the previous regime.
It also extended until 31 December 2010 the International Advisory and Monitoring Board monitoring the Fund, noting the “significant role” both have played in helping the Government to ensure that Iraq’s resources are being used transparently and accountably for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
In August the Council said it believed the Government must take greater responsibility for the management of its own resources.
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