The United Nations Security Council on Thursday adopted a new resolution on Iraq lifting sanctions imposed almost 13 years ago following the invasion of Kuwait.
The resolution – co-sponsored by the United States, United Kingdom and Spain - also allows for full resumption of oil sales in order to restore economic activity for reconstruction, sets up a government infrastructure under the new US-controlled Authority, and calls on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to appoint a Special Representative.
Today's resolution includes among the UN Special Representative's duties "working intensively with the Authority, the people of Iraq, and others concerned to advance efforts to restore and establish national and local institutions for representative governance, including by working together to facilitate a process leading to an internationally recognised, representative government of Iraq."
Annan is also to appoint a representative to an International Advisory and Monitoring Board which will audit a Development Fund for Iraq, a trust fund into which oil and other revenues will be paid, to be disbursed at the discretion of the provisional Authority for humanitarian and economic reconstruction and other costs.
No specific time limit is imposed on the Authority and its concomitant arrangements other than that they will continue until an "internationally recognised, representative [Iraqi] government" has been established to succeed the Authority.
Annan said today that the UN would try to ensure that the Iraqi people regain full national sovereignty as soon as possible.
"Our most important task will be to ensure that the people of Iraq - men and women alike - are able, as soon as possible, through a transparent and impartially managed political process, to form a free and representative government of their own choice, so that they can regain their national sovereignty and build a stable and prosperous Iraq, at peace with its neighbours," Annan said.
In addition, the resolution extends for another six months Annan’s authority to run the UN Oil-for-Food programme, under which Baghdad was allowed to use oil sales to buy the food and humanitarian supplies on which 60 per cent of Iraqis depended, before finally terminating it.
The extension allows Annan to prioritise shipments for billions of dollars of already signed contracts in the humanitarian pipeline before handing all remaining activities of the programme to the provisional Authority.
Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said that the humanitarian situation in Iraq remained very serious and that the breakdown of law and order had resulted in a range of urgent needs.
"A major humanitarian crisis has been averted so far," she said. "But the civilian population – and children in particular – remain at risk, particularly if the security situation does not improve substantially in the near future."
Fréchette added that reactivation of essential public services remained the overarching priority of virtually all assistance efforts.
"This includes not only health services, electricity and water supply, but also the public distribution system for food, on which much of the population depends for their survival," Fréchette said.
World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director, James Morris, said that from June to September, his agency’s objective was to ensure that 480,000 mt of food are available every month to feed all 27 million Iraqis under the existing public distribution system. Distribution to the entire population of Iraq would begin on 1 June, through 44,000 food agents in place across the country, he added.
In a statement to the UN Security Council, Morris said WFP had already delivered more than 200,000 mt of food to Iraq, using five corridors through Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Kuwait and Iran. This is enough to feed some 14 million people - half the Iraqi population - for one month.
"With the restoration of the public distribution system, we are confident that we can avoid any hunger among Iraqis," Morris said.
Frechette said the UN planned to launch a new funding appeal in the second half of June, based on new comprehensive humanitarian assessments.
"There remain significant gaps in funding for key priorities such as the re-establishment of the health system, nutrition programmes, water facilities and restoring the education system."
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