Revamping the United Nations “oil-for-food” humanitarian programme for Iraq, the Security Council today adopted a resolution aimed at simplifying the procedures for getting goods into the country.
Acting unanimously, the Council extended the programme – which allows Baghdad to purchase relief supplies with a portion of its oil revenues – for six months, while setting up a new system to accelerate the approval of humanitarian contracts.
Under the new system, States can more quickly process contracts on all goods that are not directly subject to the sanctions in place since Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and are not referenced on a document adopted today, known as the Goods Review List.
Instead of being subject to review by the Security Council committee set up to monitor the sanctions against Baghdad, these contracts will be processed directly through the UN Office of the Iraq Programme, which runs the oil-for-food scheme. Previously, the bulk of all contracts was processed through the sanctions committee.
The resolution sets up a strict timetable and system for processing contracts. Applications will first go to the Office, which will forward them to experts from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine whether the contract in question contains any item covered by the sanctions or included on the List. All applications containing any military goods will be rejected, while experts will pay particular attention to so-called “dual-use” items, namely those which might have both civilian and military applications.
If the application in question has an item on the List, the UNMOVIC and IAEA experts will provide the sanctions committee with an assessment of the humanitarian, economic and security implications of the approval or denial of the good in question, including the risk of diversion for military purposes.
In another development, the Office today reported that on 9 May, Iraq ended its oil export suspension, which had been announced last month, and began loading crude at the Mina Al-Bakr terminal.