SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS IRAQ’S ‘OIL-FOR-FOOD’ PROGRAMME UNTIL 4 DECEMBER

25 November 2002
SC/7577

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS IRAQ’S ‘OIL-FOR-FOOD’ PROGRAMME UNTIL 4 DECEMBER

25/11/2002
Press ReleaseSC/7577

Security Council

4650th Meeting (Night)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS IRAQ’S ‘OIL-FOR-FOOD’ PROGRAMME UNTIL 4 DECEMBER

Resolution 1443 (2002), Adopted Unanimously, Expresses

Determination to Improve Country’s Humanitarian Situation

The Security Council this evening decided to extend the “oil-for-food” programme for Iraq.  It did so by unanimously adopting resolution 1443 (2002) and acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, by which it extended the provisions of its resolution 1409 (2002) until 4 December.

[By resolution 1409, adopted on 14 May, the Council approved a list of revised sanctions, a revised Goods Review List (document S/2002/515) and revised procedures (document S/2002/532) as a basis for the humanitarian programme in Iraq, known as the “oil-for-food” programme.]

The meeting, which started at 7:10 p.m., adjourned at 7:15 p.m.

Resolution:

The full text of this evening’s resolution, proposed by Bulgaria and the United Kingdom, reads, as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, including resolutions 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, 1352 (2001) of 1 June 2001, 1360 (2001) of 3 July 2001, 1382 (2001) of 29 November 2001 and 1409 (2002) of 14 May 2002, as they relate to the improvement of the humanitarian programme for Iraq,

Convinced of the need as a temporary measure to continue to provide for the civilian needs of the Iraqi people until the fulfilment by the Government of Iraq of the relevant resolutions, including notably resolutions 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991 and 1284 (1999), 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 these resolutions,

Taking note of the Secretary-General's report S/2002/1239 of 12 November 2002,

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 to extend the provisions of resolution 1409 (2002) until

4 December 2002;

“2.Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Background

When the Security Council met this evening, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraphs 7 and 8 of Council resolution 1409 (2002) (document S/2002/1239) concerning the “oil-for-food” programme implemented by the Office of the Iraq Programme.  By resolution 1409 (2002), unanimously adopted on 14 May, the Council extended the "oil-for-food" programme for another 180 days and adopted a Goods Review List and revised procedures as a basis for the humanitarian programme in Iraq (for more information, see Press Release SC/7395 of 14 May).

According to the report, as at 31 October, the total value of the humanitarian supplies and equipment delivered to Iraq under the programme was  just under $25 billion, including $1.5 billion for the oil industry.  Additional supplies with a total value of $10 billion under already approved contracts were in the delivery process.  In addition to improving the overall socio-economic conditions of the Iraqi people, the programme has prevented the further degradation of public services and infrastructure.  In several areas, the programme has stabilized and improved access to humanitarian goods and services.

The report states that, at present, 72 per cent of the total revenues received from Iraqi oil exported under the programme are allocated for the purchase of humanitarian supplies, equipment and services.  As at 31 October, $31.12 billion had been made available to the Government of Iraq for areas where it is responsible for implementing the programme.  About $7.2 billion, or 13 per cent, has been made available for programme implementation by the United Nations in three northern governorates.

The report notes a significant shortfall in the programme's funding, which adversely affected the benefits of revised procedures.  The shortfall was the result of a substantial reduction in Iraqi oil exported under the programme.  The situation is further exacerbated by the cumulative revenue shortfall from earlier phases.  Factors contributing to the drop in oil exports include:  Iraq's periodic unilateral suspension of its oil exports; the continued absence of an agreement between the Government and the Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) on the manner in which the price of crude oil is set; and concerns by traders over supply reliability.  The Secretary-General recommended that the Government of Iraq be forthcoming in order to resolve the disagreement over the pricing issue and appealed to the Council and its Committee to take the necessary action in response to any positive measures that Iraq may take in that regard.

As many of the programme achievements will be compromised unless the present situation is redressed, it is recommended that the Government of Iraq take urgent steps to regularize its recent efforts to prioritize funding of approved contracts and that it keep the Office of Iraq informed in order to avoid unnecessary delays in the utilization of the limited funds.

Because of revised procedures pursuant to resolution 1409 (2002), which have been implemented for four months, the entire process has become transparent to all parties involved, with predictable timeframes for each processing step.  There has been a considerable, but expected, increase in the number of applications with the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that are not compliant with the Goods Review List due to the massive reprocessing of applications on hold. Transparent, clearly-defined and consistent dual-use criteria have been used based on the Goods Review List, allowing for approval by the Secretariat of a large number of items often previously placed on hold by the Committee.  There is also a better focus on the humanitarian implications of the non-approval of items, rather than considering their dual-use nature alone.

In conclusion, the report observes that the humanitarian programme was never intended to be a substitute for normal economic activity.  As long as the comprehensive sanctions remain in force, however, there is no alternative to the programme for addressing the humanitarian situation in Iraq.  Despite its shortcomings, the programme has made a major difference in the lives of ordinary Iraqis.  The effectiveness of the programme could be further enhanced if all parties concerned took the necessary measures for removing difficulties faced in implementation, including severe difficulties in connection with the dire funding shortfall.  While the current discussions are focused on the resumption of the weapons inspection regime, the Secretary-General appeals to all concerned to also focus attention on the humanitarian dimension and to spare no effort in meeting the dire humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people.

For more information on the “oil-for-food” programme, see www.un.org.Depts.oip.

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For information media. Not an official record.