The United Nations Security Council today extended the humanitarian oil-for-food scheme which allows Iraq to use part of its crude exports to purchase relief aid for an additional 180 days starting tomorrow.
Unanimously adopting a resolution just hours before the programme was set to expire, the Council also decided to consider, within 30 days, "necessary adjustments" to the Goods Review List, which is central to a system now being used to expedite the delivery of humanitarian goods to Iraq.
Under that 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 the Goods Review List. Instead of being reviewed by the Security Council committee set up to monitor the sanctions against Baghdad, these contracts are processed directly through the UN Office of the Iraq Programme.
Today's resolution also requested the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the Goods Review List and on "whether Iraq has ensured the equitable distribution of medicine, health supplies, foodstuffs, and materials and supplies for essential civilian needs" procured under the oil-for-food programme.
That programme, which began operations in 1996, remains a temporary measure to provide for the civilian needs of the Iraqi people until Baghdad meets its international obligations.
To date, over $25 billion worth humanitarian supplies and equipment have been delivered to Iraq under the scheme, including $1.6 billion worth of oil industry spare parts and equipment. An additional $10.5 billion worth of supplies are currently in the production and delivery pipeline.