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Extension of UN Oil-for-Food pumps $100 million more into Iraq's relief pipeline

Extension of UN Oil-for-Food pumps $100 million more into Iraq's relief pipeline

The value of priority supplies that can be shipped to Iraq from the United Nations Oil-for-Food pipeline has surged nearly $100 million, to $548.6 million thanks to a three-week extension granted the already adjusted programme, on which 60 per cent of Iraqis depend as their sole source of sustenance.

The total was $455 million before the Security Council last week extended Secretary-General Kofi Annan's authority to run it for another three weeks, until 3 June.

The programme was temporarily halted on 17 March after the withdrawal of all UN staff from Iraq on the eve of hostilities. The Council adopted a first resolution on 28 March giving Mr. Annan more authority to administer the operation for the next 45 days, until 12 May, including prioritizing deliveries and finding new entry ports to speed their shipment.

The UN Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP), which oversees the Oil-for-Food programme, under which Baghdad was allowed to use part of its revenues for food and humanitarian supplies, said today the increased value was directly related to the extension of time granted to suppliers under the new resolution.

OIP said it and other UN agencies and programmes were continuing to identify the most easily accessible priority items in the pipeline and negotiate with suppliers to speed the shipment of supplies under already approved contracts.