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UN Votes to Lift Sanctions Against Iraq - 2003-05-22

The United Nations Security Council votes to lift economic sanctions against Iraq. They had been in place for nearly 13 years. Amy Katz reports.

The 15-member Security Council adopted the resolution lifting sanctions against Iraq by a vote of 14 to zero. The only Arab member – Syria – was absent and did not cast a vote. The compromise that secured the overwhelming support for the measure – the U.S. agreeing to a review of the resolution within 12 months of its implementation.

It grants the U.S. and Britain broad control over Iraq’s economic and political affairs. It also gives the UN a role in post-war Iraq – something France, Germany and Russia had been advocating.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN – John Negroponte – stressed the importance of the UN role.

“The resolution affirms our commitment to the development of an internationally recognized representative government of Iraq. It creates a robust mandate for a special representative of the Secretary General, including to work with the people of Iraq, the authority and others concerned, including neighboring states to help make this vision a reality.”

Secretary General Kofi Annan urged members to keep the best interests of Iraqis at the forefront of all their efforts.

“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, impartially managed political process, to form a free and representative government of their own choice, so they can regain their national sovereignty and build a stable, prosperous Iraq – at peace with its neighbors.”

The resolution allows the U.S. and Britain to sell Iraqi oil – to fund reconstruction. Iraqi oil exports are expected to resume in the near future. News of the UN vote sent world oil prices down about a half a dollar.

In Iraq Thursday – it was welcomed. At Baghdad’s children’s hospital, doctors were hopeful they would now be able to get new medicines.

A trader at this market said Iraq will be better and good things will start to happen now. He said everyone is happy about the coming change.