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Security Council to discuss adjustments to UN Oil-for-Food programme for Iraq

Security Council to discuss adjustments to UN Oil-for-Food programme for Iraq

Amb. Mamady Traoré speaks to press
Concerned about the humanitarian situation in Iraq, the Security Council is scheduled to discuss a letter from Secretary-General Kofi Annan suggesting possible adjustments to the “oil-for-food” programme, the President of the 15-nation body said today.

Ambassador Mamady Traoré of Guinea told reporters that he received the Secretary-General’s letter late yesterday, and that the Council will hold consultations Friday morning to discuss it. Mr. Annan is expected to be present for the meeting, he added.

The Secretary-General had told the Council in a statement Wednesday that the proposals would be aimed at enabling the United Nations to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq during and after hostilities.

On Monday, Mr. Annan ordered the withdrawal of all UN personnel from Iraq, leading to the suspension of the Oil-for-Food programme – which allows Baghdad to use a portion of its petroleum sales to buy relief supplies – because there would no inspectors to monitor the selling of oil and the distribution of food required by the programme.

Asked if the Council was holding discussions about the war itself, the President said, “The most urgent question is the humanitarian situation.” He noted that the Council did discuss the situation yesterday morning, knowing that it was possible there would be a war later on. “And effectively that is what happened,” he added. “But what concerns us now is the urgent humanitarian situation.”