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United Nations Lift Sanctions Against Iraq

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2003 – The United Nations this morning lifted sanctions against Iraq following a 14-0 vote in the Security Council.

The vote on U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483 lifts sanctions imposed on Saddam Hussein's regime following the Persian Gulf War. The resolution also gives the United States and the United Kingdom authority to control the country until an elected government is in place.

The United States, United Kingdom and Spain proposed the resolution. It will allow the controlling powers to finance reconstruction of Iraq out of Iraqi oil proceeds following more than two decades of Hussein's rule.

"It is a resolution that will lift sanctions, after 13 years, off the backs of the Iraqi people," Secretary of State Colin Powell said just before the vote.

The resolution will allow the international community to "help the liberated people of Iraq build a better society." He noted Iraq's infrastructure "was devastated not by the war, but by 30 years of dictatorial rule."

"It will show to the Iraqi people that the international community is there for them," the secretary added. Powell said the unanimous vote shows the world is "now united to move forward."

The U.S. and U.K. provisional authority in Iraq will operate with total oversight of an international board, and with the participation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The resolution calls for a special representative of the U.N. secretary general to be installed and to work with the provisional authorities. "As President Bush and (British) Prime Minister (Tony) Blair said a few weeks ago, it was important that we recognize a vital role for the United Nations," Powell said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte said the lifting of sanctions is a momentous event for the people of Iraq. "It is the turning of a historical page that should brighten the future of a people and a region," he said to the Security Council.

"The threatening actions and defiance of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime prolonged the imposition of sanctions for nearly 13 years," he said. "The liberation of Iraq has cleared the path for today's actions."

Negroponte said removing the sanctions will allow the provisional authorities to address problems left over from the previous regime.

"We all witnessed an Iraqi state under Saddam Hussein that was unwilling to adequately feed its people, a state in which critical infrastructure projects were left to languish while luxurious palaces were built, and a state in which free political expression was cruelly repressed and punished," he said.

"After more than a decade of being frozen out of the world economy, it is time for the Iraqi people to benefit from their natural resources," Negroponte added.

The resolution lifts export restrictions to Iraq, with the exception of trade in arms and related materiel. Aviation restrictions are also lifted.

"But Iraq's disarmament obligations remain, and member states remain barred from assisting Iraq in acquiring weapons of mass destruction (and) proscribed missile systems or proceeding with civil nuclear activities, so long as those restrictions remain in effect," he said.

The resolution mandates that Iraq must meet its obligations to Kuwait and others who suffered from Saddam Hussein's aggression, dating from the Persian Gulf War.

Negroponte said the United States looks forward to working with representatives of the United Nations as together they help rebuild Iraq.

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