SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS IRAQ 'OIL-FOR-FOOD' PROGRAMME FOR 180 DAYS BEGINNING 25 MAY

21 May 1999
SC/6682

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS IRAQ 'OIL-FOR-FOOD' PROGRAMME FOR 180 DAYS BEGINNING 25 MAY

Security Council                                            SC/6682

4008th Meeting (PM)                                         21 May 1999

            SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS IRAQ 'OIL-FOR-FOOD' PROGRAMME

                         FOR 180 DAYS BEGINNING 25 MAY

                  Resolution 1242 (1999) Adopted Unanimously

The Security Council this afternoon extended the programme of humanitarian assistance to Iraq known as "oil for food" for a period of

180 days beginning on 25 May.  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 1242 (1999), by which it decided to continue to permit Iraq to produce up to $5.26 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 Secretary-General is requested to submit to the Council, by 30 June 1999, a detailed list of parts and equipment needed for Iraq to produce the allotted amount of oil.

The Council further decided to conduct a thorough review of the resolution's implementation 90 days after its entry into force and again prior to the end of the 180-day period, on receipt of a report by the Secretary-General on whether Iraq has ensured the equitable distribution of humanitarian supplies in an appropriately financed manner.  The Secretary-General is requested to include in his report observations regarding the adequacy of the revenues to meet Iraq's humanitarian needs and on Iraq's capacity to export sufficient quantities of petroleum products to produce the designated amount of revenue.

The Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) to monitor sanctions against Iraq is also asked to report to the Council after

90 days and prior to the end of the 180-day period on the implementation of the oil sales arrangements outlined in resolution 986 (1995).

Statements before the vote were made by the representatives of the Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States, China and France.

The meeting was called to order at 3:41 p.m. and adjourned at 4:04 p.m.

Council Work Programme

The Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation between Iraq and Kuwait.

The Council had before it the Secretary-General's report on the implementation of the humanitarian programme established pursuant to Council resolution 986 (1995), covering the period from December 1996 to November 1998 (document S/1999/481).  By resolution 986 (1995), the Council authorized the sale of Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products sufficient to produce a sum not exceeding a total of $1 billion every 90 days for the purposes set out in the resolution, and subject to certain conditions enumerated in the resolution.

In addition to revenue generation, observation and monitoring activities, and procedures for the processing and approval of applications, the report also describes sector-specific issues in the areas of:  food and nutrition; health; water and sanitation; agriculture; electricity; education; and rehabilitation of settlements and mine clearance.

The objectives of the enhanced humanitarian programme could not be fully achieved, primarily owing to the shortfall in revenues, the report states.  While the current higher price for oil will provide revenues for the current phase of the programme above the levels achieved in phase IV, it will not reach the target of $5.2 billion set by resolution 1153 (1998).  The report cautions against any over-optimism regarding the recent trend in oil prices.  Given the magnitude of the humanitarian needs in Iraq and the volatility of the oil market, there are no grounds for complacency.  There remains an urgent need to take steps which would raise the level of funds available to the humanitarian programme.

While welcoming the procedural improvements achieved by the Security Council Committee established to monitor sanctions, the Secretary-General invites it to review its procedures further with a view to expediting the approval of applications and reducing the number of applications that are placed on hold.  Among other measures, he recommends that the Committee consider authorizing the Office of the Iraq Programme, should there be a shortfall in funds available during a given phase, to transfer approved applications from one phase to the next phase for funding purposes, without the need to resubmit them to the Committee.

The distribution plan remains central to the entire system of procurement, approval and distribution of humanitarian supplies, according to the report.

To meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi population more effectively, the Secretary-General invites the Government of Iraq, and the United Nations agencies and programmes, to present sectoral requirements in self-contained packages.  In addition, regardless of the actual level of funding available to the programme, the plan should adopt a genuinely multi-sectoral approach to improving the nutritional and health situation of the population.

The Council also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the distribution of humanitarian supplies throughout Iraq (document S/1999/573).  The report covers the period up to 31 March and includes the implementation of the United Nations Inter-Agency Humanitarian Programme in the three northern governorates of Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniya.  The report also describes developments in implementing the programme since the previous report of

22 February (document S/1999/481) and enumerates other related reports already before the Council.

The Council also had before it a letter dated 19 May from the Acting Chairman of the Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) concerning the situation between Iraq and Kuwait (document S/1999/582).  That letter transmits in an Annex the Committee's report on implementation of that resolution.

The Council also had before it letters dated 27 and 30 March transmitting the reports of three panels (document S/1999/356) established pursuant to a

30 January note by the President of the Security Council.  Those panels are:  the panel on disarmament and current and future ongoing monitoring and verifications issues; the panel on humanitarian issues; and the panel on prisoners of war and Kuwaiti property.

Annex I of the document contains the report of the panel concerning

disarmament and current and future ongoing monitoring and verification issues.

Taking relevant Council resolutions into account, the main objective of the panel on disarmament was to make recommendations to the Council on how to re-establish an effective disarmament/ongoing monitoring and verification regime in Iraq.

This mandate, continues the report, reflects the Council's assessment that an effective presence of inspectors on the ground remains the most effective way to provide assurance that Iraq does not retain, acquire or rebuild its proscribed weapons programmes.  The panel considered that refocusing or "relensing" the

approach towards disarmament/ongoing monitoring and verification, without departing from the existing framework of rights and obligations laid down in Council resolutions, might offer the opportunity to enlarge the scope of policy options for the Council.

To that end, continues the report, the panel concentrated a great part of its work on discussing the technical feasibility of a reinforced Ongoing Monitoring and Verification (OMV) system capable of addressing, through integration, the remaining unresolved issues.  The panel concluded that

such a reinforced OMV system, which should include intrusive inspections and investigations of relevant elements of past activities, is viable.

The report says that the effectiveness of the monitoring and verification system depends on its being comprehensive and intrusive.  Rigorous implementation is critically dependant upon the exercise of the rights of full and free access set forth in relevant Council resolutions.  The monitoring and verification

system could only be meaningfully implemented in its entirety.  At the same

time, mandates should be carried out objectively in a technically competent and thorough manner, with due regard to Iraqi sovereignty.

Given the difficulties experienced in the past, continues the report,

implementation of the reinforced OMV system will require firm and active support by the Council.  Implementation is also predicated on Iraqi cooperation.  In one way or another, Iraq will have to be engaged by the Council, sooner rather than later.  The reinforced OMV would be, if anything, more intrusive than the one

practised so far.  It is, therefore, in the hands of the Council to devise ways of ensuring that Iraq accepts such monitoring and verification.

Annex II contains the report of the panel concerning the current humanitarian situation in Iraq.  The report points to a continuing degradation of the Iraqi economy, with an acute deterioration in the living conditions of the population.  Infant mortality rates are among the highest in the world, only 41 per cent of the population have regular access to clean water, and

83 per cent of all schools need substantial repairs.  According to reports of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Iraqi health-care system is in a decrepit state, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) calculates that it will take $7 billion to rehabilitate the power sector country-wide to its 1990 capacity.

While Member States should not shun their collective responsibility in the face of acute Iraqi humanitarian needs, the report states, the Government of Iraq was not exempt from its own responsibilities in providing relief to its citizens, given its unsatisfactory performance in certain areas.  In addition, under current conditions, the humanitarian outlook would remain bleak and become more serious.  Even if not all suffering in Iraq could be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivation in the absence of prolonged measures imposed by the Council and the effects of war.

Due to shortfalls in revenue for the implementation of approved distribution plans, the "oil-for-food" humanitarian programme has not fully achieved its objectives, the panel notes.  Moreover, even if all humanitarian supplies were provided in a timely manner, the humanitarian programme can only meet a small fraction of the priority needs of Iraqis.  In light of the near dependence of Iraq on oil exports for foreign exchange, further deterioration of the oil industry infrastructure would have disastrous effects on the country's ability to cover the costs for basic humanitarian needs. 

The panel stresses that securing additional funding to finance humanitarian efforts is of paramount importance.  The panel recommends lifting the ceiling of allowable oil exports and facilitating the provision of the necessary spare parts to enable Iraq to increase its export capacity.  The panel also recommends bilateral production-sharing agreements between the Iraqi Government and foreign oil companies.  Under such agreements, strictly monitored by the United Nations, foreign companies would be authorized by the Security Council Committee to import requisite oil spare parts and equipment in order to increase Iraq's oil production and export capacity.

The panel recommends that, at the request of States holding frozen Iraqi assets, the Council authorize the release of such assets to the escrow account or another agreed-upon mechanism in order to fund the procurement of urgently needed humanitarian supplies.  Regarding the supply of humanitarian goods, it is also recommended that foodstuffs, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, as well as basic educational items, should be contracted and procured directly by the Iraqi Government without any approval by the Security Council Committee.

The panel notes that under relevant Council resolutions, the Government of Iraq may not have direct or indirect access to revenue raised.  This limitation seriously impeded the distribution of some humanitarian supplies, especially in the centre and south of the country.  Given this situation, the Council should consider establishing a "cash component" for the centre/south on the basis of plans submitted by Iraq and approved and monitored by the Office of the Iraq Programme.

The panel also recommends that the Iraqi Government do its utmost to ensure the timely distribution of humanitarian goods.  It should effectively address the needs of vulnerable groups in the centre/south, especially those of street children, the disabled, the elderly and the mentally ill, and allow freer access to United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to restricted areas and sections of the population for adequate evaluation of their nutritional and general humanitarian condition.

Annex III contains the report of the panel established to make an assessment of Iraqi compliance relating to prisoners of war and Kuwaiti property, including archives, as stipulated by the Council.  It was agreed that the assessment should be made based on briefings and written submissions of those with first-hand information, including those directly concerned.  For practical and political reasons, it was not to engage in any investigative work of its own.

The report states that, if compliance with Iraq's obligations is to be assessed in the light of present circumstances, the status of the remaining 605 persons unaccounted for, whether prisoners of war, civilian detainees or missing persons, would be crucial.  Given the limitation of not being able to investigate the facts, the panel found itself unable to make a definitive determination.  It urges Iraq to reconsider its decision not to participate in the Tripartite Commission and the Technical Subcommittee, so that these mechanisms can continue to provide hope for the families of the missing persons.

The panel reaffirms the humanitarian character of the issue and stresses the need to avoid politicization in the discussions.  The fact remains that it is essential to provide, under any circumstances, information to the families of the missing persons.  The panel believes that progress between Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in accounting for missing persons could play an important role in the process of confidence-building and lead to an improvement in the overall political atmosphere.

The panel emphasizes the responsibility of all involved to cooperate fully with the work of the Tripartite Commission and to provide information in response to the files submitted by the other parties.  The panel heard that Iraq's cooperation with the Commission has fallen short of expectation, and it was not convinced by the explanations furnished by Iraq regarding its inability to provide information on the files submitted through the ICRC.

While reaffirming the independence of the mechanisms chaired by the ICRC, the panel recognizes that, since the issue of prisoners of war is addressed in Security Council resolutions, the Council should have the opportunity to review the matter.  It considers this report, in itself, as a means by which the Council is being kept updated on the prisoners-of-war question.  To complement this information, and without detriment to the Tripartite Commission, the panel recommends that the Council be periodically informed of the situation.

With regard to Kuwaiti property, Council resolutions required Iraq to immediately begin to return all Kuwaiti property, the return to be completed in the shortest possible period.  The panel encourages Iraq to make additional efforts to find Kuwaiti property in its territory and to continue making all property found available for return through the Secretariat.

While recognizing that it is increasingly difficult to affirm that all items are still in Iraq's possession, the panel estimates that the level of Iraq's cooperation can be improved and, at the minimum, that more information should be provided.  Different from the prisoners-of-war issue, there is no active mechanism in place to foster the return of property.  Progress in this area, therefore, could be achieved by periodic reports by the parties to a focal point in the Secretariat, who would be responsible for maintaining an updated list of items yet to be returned, accompanied, when possible and appropriate, by supporting evidence.

Further, based on data gathered by the focal point, the Secretary-General could report annually to the Council on progress on the return of property.  A representative of the Coordinator for the Return of Property in the field should also be appointed as soon as possible, so as to facilitate the handover of property eventually found by Iraq, as those reported to have been found, but not yet returned, on June 1997 and December 1998.

Although Iraqi authorities have returned a number of items, so far, they have not properly addressed the question of missing archives.  Iraq is under obligation to return the archives of the Emir, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Foreign Ministry.  Iraq has not even attempted to provide a credible explanation on the whereabouts of the official archives.  Likewise, the assertion by Kuwait that Iraq is in possession of military equipment seized from Kuwait during the occupation needs to be properly addressed by the Iraqi authorities.

The panel reaffirms Iraq's obligation to implement paragraph 2 of Council resolution 686.  While it may never be possible to reach the point in which the Council will have 100 per cent of certainty that all items in Iraq's possession were returned, the absence of credible explanation from Iraq on the missing archives and military material does not allow the panel to conclude that Iraq has fully complied with paragraph 2 of Council resolution 686.

Draft Resolution

The Council also had before it a draft resolution (document S/1999/588), sponsored by Argentina, United Kingdom and the United States, which 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, 1175 (1998) of 19 June 1998 and 1210 (1998) of 24 November 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,

"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 25 May 1999;

"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.   Requests the Secretary-General to continue to take the actions necessary to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of this resolution, 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;

"4.   Takes note that the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) is reviewing various options, in particular, the proposal made by the Secretary-General, as requested by paragraph 4 of resolution 1210 (1998), to resolve the difficulties encountered in the financial process referred to in the Secretary-General's report of 19 November 1998 (S/1998/1100);

"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);

"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 30 June 1999, 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 keep these arrangements under review, including in particular those in paragraph 2 above, to ensure the uninterrupted flow of humanitarian supplies into Iraq, and expresses its willingness to review the relevant recommendations of the report of the panel established to review humanitarian issues (S/1999/356, annex II) as appropriate with regard to the 180-day period referred to in paragraph 1 above;

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

Statements

ANDREI GRANOVSKY (Russian Federation) said he believed that a solution to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq could not be found due to the maintenance of

sanctions.  The Russian Federation firmly held that the present humanitarian programme in Iraq hardly guaranteed the physical survival of the Iraqi population.  He noted that the delivery of spare parts for the rehabilitation of Iraq's oil infrastructure was moving very slowly.  While his delegation saw all the flaws of the United Nations humanitarian operation in Iraq, it would still agree to extend its mandate, since it did provide some possibility of easing the suffering of the Iraqi people.  He condemned the bombing of Iraqi civilian locations by United Kingdom and United States aircraft. That illegal use of force was responsible for the deaths of absolutely innocent people.

He said his delegation was also particularly concerned about strikes against facilities used by United Nations humanitarian operations.  He paid tribute to the staff of the Organization's humanitarian programme in Iraq,

who were carrying out important and noble work in difficult situations.  His delegation did not object to the adoption of the technical draft resolution that would extend Security Council resolution 986.  He stressed, however, that the lifting of sanctions -- not the palliative of extensions -- would overcome the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.  The task of halting the sanctions was now an acute matter for the Council.

Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said the draft resolution reflected the Council's desire to continue the humanitarian programme.  Discussions among members continued on the Council's broader approach to

Iraq.  It was hoped that those discussions would soon reach a conclusion.  In addition to rolling over the programme for a further 180 days, the resolution indicated the Council's intention to keep the programme under review, including, if necessary, by adjusting the ceiling for Iraq's oil exports in order to fund the programme.  The discussions on the recommendations of the panel on the humanitarian side, and the current resolution, underlined the Council's firm and united support for the humanitarian programme, and its determination to improve the situation of the Iraqi people.

He called on the Iraqi Government to cooperate constructively in the implementation of the programme, to ensure that its full potential to meet the needs of the Iraqi people was realized.  He said mention had been made of the no-fly zones activity.  There was a simple way to reduce tension -- Iraq should stop targeting coalition aircraft.  The United Kingdom's operations were purely reactive and not aggressive.  The no-fly zones were necessary to both limit Iraq's capacity to oppress its own people and to monitor its compliance with obligations.

A. PETER BURLEIGH (United States) said his country had a deep and abiding interest in the people of Iraq living under Saddam Hussein.  His country had noted the success of the humanitarian effort and supported the resolution extending the humanitarian programme under the oil-for-food plan.  The primary responsibility for the humanitarian need of Iraq lay with Saddam Hussein.  However, world fuel prices had risen and the programme should expand with the greater humanitarian needs in the country.  Calling upon the Government of Iraq to cooperate in the coming phase of the programme, he said he stood with the rationale expressed by the United States with regard to the military actions in the no-fly zones.

QIN HUASUN (China) said the oil-for-food programme had undergone five phases and they had eased the difficulties of the Iraqi people.  However, from its inception, the oil-for-food programme had had its limitations.  Phase V had not resulted in significant improvements in the humanitarian situation.  The programme could not meet the humanitarian needs, nor could it restore Iraq's infrastructure.  The humanitarian panel had come up with a similar conclusion in its report.  Only the lifting of sanctions could be the answer to the difficulties in Iraq.

The United States and the United Kingdom were still bombing civilian targets in the so-called no-fly zone, he continued.  That had aggravated the humanitarian situation.  The United States and the United Kingdom should immediately halt military actions in the no-fly zones.  The Council was extending the oil-for-food programme, but it should be expanded and revised.  It was difficult for the Council to reach consensus on that.  In order to meet Iraq's needs, China accepted the present temporary technical roll-over and it completely agreed with the Secretary-General that the programme should be depoliticized.  By Council consensus, the ceiling on imports should be lifted.

YVES DOUTRIAUX (France) said the very grave humanitarian crisis was the issue before the Council.  The humanitarian panel had agreed with Council recommendations for helping Iraq.  It was up to the Council and Iraq to assume their responsibilities.  All the panel's proposals should have come into force with the beginning of the present resolution.

It seemed from paragraph 14 of the present resolution that the Council would be flexible with regard to a ceiling on oil exports, he said.  It also seemed the Council would not ask Iraq to suspend its exports and interrupt the flow of humanitarian aid.  Resolution 986 (1995), even if improved on, would provide only a temporary answer to Iraq's problems.  The Council should reach consensus on the recommendations of the three panels.

Action

The Council then adopted Security Council resolution 1242 (1999) by a vote of 15 in favour to none against.

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For information media. Not an official record.