Iraqi leadership accepts, but criticizes, changes to U.N. sanctions regime

Thursday, May 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Iraq ``will deal with'' a new Security Council resolution that makes sweeping changes to the U.N. sanctions regime, the information minister said Thursday, though Iraqi leaders criticized the measure.

``Once again the Security Council ... exposes its weakness and inability to face the American tendency in harming Iraq,'' said a statement issued by the official Iraqi News agency.

The statement alone fell short of saying that Iraq would totally reject or accept the revamped sanctions. But Iraq's Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, told INA that ``Iraq will deal with Resolution 1409 regarding the renewal of the oil-for-food deal for another six months ... according to the memorandum of understanding signed by Iraq and the United Nations.''

The Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to revamp sanctions, capping a yearlong effort by the United States and Britain to get more humanitarian goods to the Iraqi people and try to keep weapons of mass destruction out of Saddam's hands.

The resolution allows the free flow of most civilian goods into Iraq and requires U.N. approval for delivery of civilian items with potential military use on a 332-page checklist.

Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammad Al-Douri, said at U.N. headquarters in New York that the new list will complicate rather than simplify delivery of humanitarian items and will harm Iraq's economy by blocking the import of agricultural, electrical and sanitation equipment. He stressed his government was ``unhappy'' with any resolution that didn't lift sanctions.