US wants control over Iraqi oil

The United States has proposed that along with Britain it retains the power to control Iraq's oil while marginally enhancing the role of the United Nations in rebuilding the country.


    UN in Iraq:limited role?


    The proposals are contained in a revised US-drafted resolution on lifting UN sanctions against Iraq. The draft, readied on Thursday, slightly enhances the UN role, proposes ways to resolve Iraq's massive foreign debt but leaves basic Bush 

    administration demands unchanged.  The US and Britain want a vote on it next week.


    Distributed to  the 15 UN Security Council members, the draft still gives Washington and London broad powers to decide how to spend Iraq's oil wealth for reconstruction.


    It slightly strengthens the role of the United Nations but not as much as some delegates wanted.  Nevertheless, Russian envoys, who had strong criticisms, welcomed it as a step in the right direction and sign of willingness to negotiate by the US and Britain.


    Resolution unclear


    The new draft calls for oil revenues, now under UN control, to be put into a Development Fund for Iraq instead of the previously named Iraqi Assistance Fund.


    The resolution was unclear on the precise duties expected of the UN. But in an effort to counter objections that the special UN Iraqi coordinator would be subordinate to the US, the resolution allows the person to report to the international advisory board.


    Bush:The US gets the oil

    The United Nations has a seat on this board along with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.  The UN coordinator would report to the Security Council regularly on the implementation of the resolution.


    On Iraq's foreign debt, estimated at $400 billion by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, the resolution suggested this could be resolved

    through "appropriate mechanisms" such as the Paris Club.


    The 19-nation Paris Club of wealthy countries restructures emerging countries' debt. The provision was intended to make clear that Washington would not be adjudicating over Iraq's debt, a US official said.


     The main purpose of the resolution is to lift sanctions, except for an arms embargo, as soon as possible so that Iraq can use its oil revenues to rebuild its shattered economy.


    Without UN action to lift the 12-year-old sanctions, the US and Britain would be in a legal no man's land in Iraq.  Many companies would be unwilling to engage in trade and

    Iraq's oil deals could get challenged in courts.


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