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Syria Supports UN Resolution Lifting Sanctions Against  Iraq - 2003-05-23


Syria's state news agency reported Friday that Damascus supports lifting United Nations sanctions on Iraq, even if it did not cast a vote on the measure.

Syria's state news agency SANA says Damascus supports U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483, lifting 13 years of international sanctions imposed on Iraq for its invasion of Kuwait.

As Iraq's neighbor and sole Arab member of the Security Council, Syria initially did not vote on the resolution adopted Thursday. Syria, which holds as rotating seat on the council, left its seat empty during the deliberations, only to announce seven hours later that it would have voted, "Yes."

Syrian U.N. envoy Fayssal Mekdad said Damascus had not been given enough time to consider the resolution and had requested a delay. He said Syria's ambassador to the United Nations was in Damascus discussing the text.

He said that Syria's belated support for the resolution cannot be interpreted as a change in its position rejecting the U.S.-led war on Iraq which he called illegitimate.

State news agency SANA reports that Syria decided to vote in favor of the resolution out of concern over the adverse living conditions of the Iraqi people. But, it added that Syria does not believe the U.N. resolution will ultimately give Iraqis sufficient power they will need to rebuild their country.

The resolution immediately lifted the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq and put its oil revenues into a new development fund, to be held by the central bank and spent on reconstruction and humanitarian needs at the direction of the occupying powers, the United States and Britain.