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Iraqi petrol exports earn $340 million under UN's oil-for-food scheme

Iraqi petrol exports earn $340 million under UN's oil-for-food scheme

Iraqi oil revenues for the week ending 14 March totalled $340 million based on the export of 12.7 million barrels, according to the United Nations office overseeing the humanitarian "oil-for-food" programme, which allows Baghdad to use a portion of its petroleum sales to buy relief supplies.

According to the Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP), the exports averaged about 1.8 million barrels a day, compared with 1.4 million barrels the previous week. There were 11 loadings from the authorized terminals: five from the Iraqi oil platform at Mina al-Bakr (7.3 million barrels) and six from the Turkish Mediterranean oil terminal at Ceyhan (4.6 million barrels). These are the only outlets for Iraqi oil exports allowed under OIP.

Of 6,129 total contracts for humanitarian supplies, worth $11.6 billion, the OIP has approved 4,820 worth about $7.7 billion after the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) determined that they do not contain proscribed items.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced yesterday the temporary suspension of the oil-for-food programme as well as several other UN mandates following the withdrawal of UN staff from Iraq.

In Geneva a spokesperson for the World Food Programme said 60 per cent of the population in Iraq depended totally on the oil-for food programme for survival and an interruption would cause serious problems. The population had about six weeks of supplies.

The WFP was prepositioning 32,000 tons of food in the region, which could help 900,000 persons for 10 weeks. This was not connected to the oil-for-food programme, but was aimed at people who could be affected by the war.