U.N. Official Arrives in Iraq
SAMEER N. YACOUB
Jan. 15, 2002
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ A senior U.N. official arrived in Baghdad on Monday to discuss improving the delivery of humanitarian products under a program designed to ease the effects of U.N. sanctions on Iraqi citizens.
It was the first visit since August 2000 by Benon Sevan, the director of the U.N. program that allows Saddam Hussein's regime to sell oil and use the income to buy food and other necessities for the general public.
``The aim of my visit is to discuss with authorities and officials how we can improve our performance in terms of deliveries of goods and supplies under the program,'' Sevan told reporters.
Iraq resents the sanctions imposed after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and Sevan's relationship with Iraqi officials has been strained.
In September, Iraq accused the United Nations of sending spies to their country and expelled eight U.N. employees.
Under U.N. resolutions, the sanctions can be lifted only after Baghdad proves that it has halted all efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. Iraq claims it has already complied and has refused to allow U.N. weapons inspectors into the country since 1998.
Last month, the U.N. Security Council extended the oil-for-food program through May and set the stage for change in the sanctions that the United States hopes will make it harder for Iraq to develop weapons.
By May 30, the council is to adopt a list of ``dual-use'' items that could be used for both civilian and military purposes and would require U.N. approval before Iraq could import them.
Iraq said it would not accept the changes.