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Iraq: Security Council meets behind closed doors on 'oil-for-food' rollover

Iraq: Security Council meets behind closed doors on 'oil-for-food' rollover

The President of the Security Council today predicted that the United Nations humanitarian relief effort in Iraq - known as the "oil-for-food" programme - would be extended beyond tomorrow, the final date of its current mandate.

Ambassador Wang Yingfan of China, which currently holds the Council's rotating presidency, told reporters that he was "very optimistic that tomorrow after our discussion, we would have something definite for Iraq."

Speaking after the Council met in closed-door consultations, Ambassador Wang described the atmosphere in the Council this morning as positive and said he expected the meeting on Tuesday to yield a settlement on the rollover.

On 1 June, the Council extended the current phase of the "oil-for-food" programme until 3 July, and expressed its intention to agree on changes to the current sanctions regime, which has been in place against Baghdad since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The "oil-for-food" programme was set up by Security Council resolution 986 in April 1995 as a "temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people." The first oil under the programme was exported in December 1996 and the first shipments of food arrived the following March.