Britain Submits Iraq Sanctions Plans
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UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Britain submitted its proposal to the Security Council on Tuesday to ease sanctions against Iraq, a plan at least two permanent members of the body have indicated they’re in no hurry to approve.
The plan, which has the support of the United States, would allow civilian goods to flow freely into Iraq but bar military-related items, including high-powered computers and some telecommunications equipment.
The existing oil-for-food program expires June 3, when it will need to be renewed for another six-month period. Iraq’s two main Security Council supporters, China and Russia, have said there may not be enough time between now and then to revamp the current program to include Britain’s new proposals.
As permanent members of the Security Council, both China and Russia have the power to veto the plan.
Iraq has repeatedly demanded that all sanctions be lifted immediately, and on Monday Iraqi President Saddam Hussein rejected the British proposal. He said on Iraqi TV that it represented a ``declaration that the embargo imposed on Iraq has failed to achieve its basic goals.″
The plan also calls for legalizing passenger and cargo flights in and out of the country and allowing Iraq to use some of its oil money to pay its U.N. dues.
At the same time, it would keep U.N. financial control of Iraq’s oil money and attempt to toughen enforcement of the decade-old arms embargo against Saddam’s government and crack down on illegal Iraqi oil smuggling.