By Bill Varner
Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration wants to boost Iraq’s economy by lifting United Nations trade restrictions on items such as chemicals, including pesticides, that are considered capable of being used for military purposes.
The U.S. yesterday gave the UN Security Council a draft statement calling on the International Atomic Energy Agency to assess Iraq’s compliance with treaties barring development of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
“The Security Council underlines its readiness, once the necessary steps have been taken, to review, with a view towards lifting,” the restrictions, the statement says.
The UN sanctions, imposed in 1991 in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, were designed to prevent then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from acquiring materials that could be used to create weapons of mass destruction. An IAEA report would trigger a resolution to lift the sanctions.
Lifting the restrictions would help Iraq’s agriculture, industry and education development and might yield as much as $24 billion a year in trade, according to Hamid Al-Bayati, Iraq’s ambassador to the UN.
“This is the legacy of a long time ago,” Bayati said. “We have to report to the UN what we want to buy. There are delays due to bureaucracy. We want to get rid of that.”
Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hosyar Zebari asked for the action in a Jan. 19 letter to the Security Council.
“Outstanding issues related to disarmament obligations are among the constraints that continue to prevent Iraq from regaining its status as a responsible and active member of the international community and, at the same time, deprive it of the benefits of technological progress and scientific research,” Zebari said in the letter.
Security Council action wouldn’t lift sanctions that compel Iraq to compensate Kuwait, other countries and entities for damages stemming from Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
U.S. Seeks to Spur Iraq's Economy by Ending UN Trade Sanctions - Source
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