31 March 2003
Security Council Approves Adjustments to Iraq "Oil-for-Food" Programme, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1472 (2003)
Secretary-General Given More Authority to Administer Programme for 45-Day Period
NEW YORK, 28 March (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council today ended a week of closed negotiations by unanimously adopting adjustments to the "oil-for-food" programme for Iraq, giving Secretary-General Kofi Annan more authority to administer the programme for the next 45 days.
The programme, created in 1995 to ease the impact of the sanctions imposed following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, permitted Iraq to use part of its oil revenues for food and medicine and has been the only sustenance for some 60 per cent of Iraq's people. It was suspended on 17 March when the Secretary-General withdrew United Nations personnel from Iraq, just prior to the start of military action.
Through resolution 1472 (2003), the Council authorized the Secretary-General and his representatives to urgently establish alternative locations, both inside and outside Iraq, for the delivery of humanitarian supplies and equipment, to redirect shipments of goods to those locations, as necessary, and proceed with approved contracts after a review to determine the relative priorities of the need for adequate medicine, health supplies, foodstuffs and other materials.
Further, the Secretary-General and his representative were, among others, asked to: contact suppliers of those contracts to determine the precise location of contracted goods and, when necessary, to require them to delay, accelerate or divert shipments; negotiate and agree on necessary adjustments in those contracts and the letters of credit; and negotiate and execute new contracts for essential medical items.
Other steps called for include: transferring unencumbered funds between accounts created pursuant to the programme on an exceptional and reimbursable basis to ensure the delivery of essential humanitarian supplies; and using funds deposited in the accounts to compensate suppliers and shippers for agreed additional shipping, transportation and storage costs incurred as a result of diverting and delaying shipments
The Council also expressed its readiness to authorize the Secretary-General to perform additional functions as soon as the situation permitted, as activities of the programme in Iraq resumed. It further expressed its readiness to consider making additional funds available on an exceptional and reimbursable basis to meet further humanitarian needs.
Addressing the Council following the adoption of the text, which had been submitted by 14 of the 15 members, on both sides of the war debate, speakers hailed the Council's decision to modify and resume that important programme, while some cautioned that their support for the resolution did not mean support for the ongoing war.
The United States' representative called the decision to modify the oil-for-food programme a positive step and he welcomed the Council's strong support for the text. He was confident that the Secretary-General and the United Nations Office for the Iraq Programme would resume the programme in the weeks ahead. The United States would coordinate it on the ground and distribute assistance, as circumstances permitted. Its bilateral aid commitment would remain robust and long term. He urged all governments to assist the Iraqi people, who had suffered long under a situation not of their choosing.
Describing the resolution an obligatory step towards resolving the humanitarian problems of the Iraqi people, the representative of the Russian Federation stressed that those problems should be settled in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, by which the occupying Power was responsible for meeting the humanitarian needs of the civilians. The adjustments to the oil-for-food programme, which were of a technical and provisional nature, would make it possible to use the contracts signed, but not yet executed to solve the humanitarian issues. Russia's support of the text was not intended to legitimize the action carried out by the coalition, without the authorization of the Council.
Similarly, Syria's representative said his vote in support of the resolution was for humanitarian purposes only, as the text's sole objective was to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi citizens. His vote, in no way, should be construed as accepting the United States-United Kingdom occupation. It should be understood as an attempt to continue to put an end to that occupation and achieve the withdrawal of the invading forces from Iraq, not as granting legitimacy to the invasion.
The representatives of Pakistan, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Spain and Guinea also spoke.
To date, some $42 billion worth of contracts for humanitarian supplies and equipment have been approved through the programme. Supplies and equipment worth almost $26 billion have been delivered to Iraq, while another $11.2 billion worth of humanitarian supplies and equipment are in the production and delivery pipeline. While in the initial stages of the programme, Iraq was permitted to sell $2 billion worth of oil every six months, the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports under the programme was removed by the Council in resolution 1284 (1999).
The Council has continued the programme in 180-day periods called "phases". The current oil-exporting period is phase XIII, authorized by Council resolution 1447 (2002), which came into effect on 5 December 2002 and runs through 3 June 2003.
The meeting began at 12:32 p.m. and adjourned at 1:03 p.m.
The full text of Council resolution 1472 (2003) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Noting that under the provisions of article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of August 12, 1949), to the fullest extent of the means available to it, the occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate,
"Convinced of the urgent need to continue to provide humanitarian relief to the people of Iraq throughout the country on an equitable basis, and of the need to extend such humanitarian relief measures to the people of Iraq who leave the country as a result of hostilities,
"Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, and in particular resolutions 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, 1409 (2002) of 14 May 2002, and 1454 (2002) of 30 December 2002, as they provide humanitarian relief to the people of Iraq,
"Noting the decision made by the Secretary-General on 17 March 2003 to withdraw all United Nations and international staff tasked with the implementation of the "Oil-for-Food" Programme (hereinafter "the Programme") established under resolution 986 (1995),
"Stressing the necessity to make every effort to sustain the operation of the present national food basket distribution network,
"Stressing also the need for consideration of a further reassessment of the Programme during and after the emergency phase,
"Reaffirming the respect for the right of the people of Iraq to determine their own political future and to control their own natural resources,
"Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq,
"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"1. Requests all parties concerned to strictly abide by their obligations under international law, in particular the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations, including those relating to the essential civilian needs of the people of Iraq, both inside and outside Iraq;
"2. Calls on the international community also to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the people of Iraq, both inside and outside Iraq in consultation with relevant States, and in particular to respond immediately to any future humanitarian appeal of the United Nations, and supports the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross and of other international humanitarian organizations;
"3. Recognizes that additionally, in view of the exceptional circumstances prevailing currently in Iraq, on an interim and exceptional basis, technical and temporary adjustments should be made to the Programme so as to ensure the implementation of the approved funded and non-funded contracts concluded by the Government of Iraq for the humanitarian relief of the people of Iraq, including to meet the needs of refugees and internally displaced persons, in accordance with this resolution;
"4. Authorizes the Secretary-General and representatives designated by him to undertake as an urgent first step, and with the necessary coordination, the following measures:
(a) to establish alternative locations, both inside and outside Iraq, in consultation with the respective governments, for the delivery, inspection and authenticated confirmation of humanitarian supplies and equipment provided under the Programme, as well as to re-direct shipments of goods to those locations, as necessary;
(b) to review, as a matter of urgency, the approved funded and non-funded contracts concluded by the Government of Iraq to determine the relative priorities of the need for adequate medicine, health supplies, foodstuffs and other materials and supplies for essential civilian needs represented in these contracts which can be shipped within the period of this mandate, to proceed with these contracts in accordance with such priorities;
(c) to contact suppliers of these contracts to determine the precise location of contracted goods and, when necessary, to require suppliers to delay, accelerate or divert shipments;
(d) to negotiate and agree on necessary adjustments in the terms or conditions of these contracts and their respective letters of credit and to implement the measures referred to in OP 4 (a), (b) and (c), notwithstanding distribution plans approved under the Programme;
(e) to negotiate and execute new contracts for essential medical items under the Programme and to authorize issuance of the relevant letters of credit, notwithstanding approved distribution plans, provided that such items cannot be delivered in execution of contracts pursuant to OP 4 (b) and subject to the approval of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 661 (1990);
(f) to transfer unencumbered funds between the accounts created pursuant to paragraphs 8 (a) and 8 (b) of resolution 986 (1995) on an exceptional and reimbursable basis as necessary to ensure the delivery of essential humanitarian supplies to the people of Iraq and to use the funds in the escrow accounts referred to in paragraphs 8 (a) and (b) of resolution 986 (1995) to implement the Programme as provided for in this resolution, irrespective of the phase in which such funds entered the escrow accounts or the phase to which those funds may have been allocated;
(g) to use, subject to procedures to be decided by the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) prior to the end of the period set out in OP 10 below and based on recommendations provided by the Office of the Iraq Programme, funds deposited in the accounts created pursuant to paragraphs 8 (a) and (b) of resolution 986 (1995), as necessary and appropriate, to compensate suppliers and shippers for agreed additional shipping, transportation and storage costs incurred as a result of diverting and delaying shipments as directed by him according to the provisions of OP 4 (a), (b) and (c) in order to perform his functions set out in OP 4 (d);
(h) to meet additional operational and administrative costs resulting from the implementation of the temporarily modified Programme by the funds in the escrow account established pursuant to paragraph 8 (d) of resolution 986 (1995) in the same manner as costs arising from those activities set forth in paragraph 8 (d) of resolution 986 (1995) in order to perform his functions set out in (d);
(i) to use funds deposited in the escrow accounts established pursuant to paragraphs 8 (a) and 8 (b) of resolution 986 (1995) for the purchase of locally produced goods and to meet the local cost for essential civilian needs which have been funded in accordance with the provisions of resolution 986 (1995) and related resolutions, including, where appropriate, the costs of milling, transportation and other costs necessary to facilitate the delivery of essential humanitarian supplies to the people of Iraq;
"5. Expresses its readiness as a second step to authorize the Secretary-General to perform additional functions with the necessary coordination as soon as the situation permits as activities of the Programme in Iraq resume;
"6. Expresses further its readiness to consider making additional funds available, including from the account created pursuant to paragraph 8 (c) of resolution 986 (1995), on an exceptional and reimbursable basis, to meet further the humanitarian needs of the people of Iraq;
"7. Decides that, notwithstanding the provisions of resolution 661 (1990) and resolution 687 (1991) and for the duration of the present resolution, all applications outside the Oil-for-Food Programme submitted by the United Nations agencies, programmes and funds, other international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for distribution or use in Iraq of emergency humanitarian supplies and equipment, other than medicines, health supplies and foodstuffs, shall be reviewed by the Committee established pursuant to resolution 661 (1990), under a 24-hour no-objection procedure;
"8. Urges all parties concerned, consistent with the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Regulations, to allow full unimpeded access by international humanitarian organizations to all people of Iraq in need of assistance and to make available all necessary facilities for their operations and to promote the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel and their assets, as well as personnel of humanitarian organizations in Iraq in meeting such needs;
"9. Directs the Committee established pursuant to resolution 661 (1990) to monitor closely the implementation of the provisions in paragraph 4 above and, in that regard, requests the Secretary-General to update the Committee on the measures as they are being taken and to consult with the Committee on prioritization of contracts for shipments of goods, other than foodstuffs, medicines, health and water sanitation related supplies;
"10. Decides that the provisions contained in paragraph 4 of this resolution shall remain in force for a period of 45 days following the date of adoption of this resolution and may be subject to further renewal by the Council;
"11. Requests the Secretary-General to take all measures required for the implementation of the present resolution and to report to the Security Council prior to the termination of the period defined in paragraph 10;
"12. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said the resolution for humanitarian assistance to Iraq was a positive signal that the Council could be restored to the path of unity, and act together when the political will of governments came together around a common cause. Pakistan's main concern was the welfare of the Iraqi people, and it believed that those who had suffered for a dozen years under sanctions should not have to pay doubly from the current outbreak of hostilities. Pakistan was willing to provide emergency assistance and was ready to do so once arrangements had made it safe.
Pakistan had co-sponsored the draft because it believed the international community needed to respond quickly and appropriately to the needs of the Iraqi people. However, there were certain principles that would guide his country's position with respect to dealing with the Iraqi people. Pakistan would consistently demand respect for the inalienable rights of the Iraqi people, including over their natural resources. In addition, the situation of the Iraqi people was not one of their own making. Therefore, in providing humanitarian assistance now and in the future, the international community must be circumspect in ensuring that the Iraqi people were not called upon to pay the additional costs that any humanitarian assistance might impose.
He hoped the response of the international community to the resolution would be positive, that the Council's unanimity would be reflected in unanimity to the Secretary-General's appeal. The Secretary-General would need to coordinate his activities in Iraq with those who happened to be in actual control of any part of that country, which was not a view on the legality of the situation that the Secretary-General might find on the ground in the programme of assistance for the Iraqi people.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said that, commensurate with the his Government's policies, which was committed to the principles of international legitimacy and in response to the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people, his vote in favour of the resolution to activate the oil-for-food programme was only for humanitarian purposes. The sole objective of the resolution was the alleviation of the suffering of Iraqi citizens, which had reached its peak as a result of the war. His vote in no way should be construed as accepting the United States-United Kingdom occupation.
It should be understood as an attempt to continue to put an end to that occupation and achieve the withdrawal of the invading forces from Iraq, he said. It should not be interpreted as granting any side legitimacy in the invasion. The contents of the resolution, including the reference in operative paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Secretary-General undertaking the urgent first step towards certain measures, was simply to coordinate the emergency relief necessary with the present Iraqi Government.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that the resolution was an obligatory step that needed to be taken to resolve the humanitarian problems of the Iraqi people, caused by the actions of the United States and the United Kingdom against Iraq. Those problems should be solved in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, by which those causing the war should meet the humanitarian needs of the civilian population.
Regarding the United Nations humanitarian programme for Iraq, the changes made in the resolution for adjustments were of a technical and provisional nature and made it possible to use the contracts signed, but not yet carried out to solve humanitarian issues caused by the war. The resolution did not change the essence of the humanitarian programme and the Council retained control of the account. It also did not give any legitimacy to the action carried out by the coalition, which was being done without the authorization of the Council. Those forces were referred to in the resolution as occupying forces. The resolution also did not cast any doubt on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.
GUNTER PLEUGER (Germany) said negotiations on the resolution had been difficult, due to complicated issues that had to be addressed. All members could not be satisfied by a compromise, and he was grateful for the spirit of cooperation that had occurred. After heated debate on the Iraq issue, it was important that the Council found its unity of purpose, which was to provide the suffering people of Iraq with necessary humanitarian goods.
The Council had enabled the Secretary-General to restart the oil-for-food programme as soon as the situation on the ground allowed. Some 60 per cent of the Iraqi people -- 14 million -- depended on that programme for their needs. Those people were even more in need of the programme now, and would be after the war. The decision taken on the resolution was a positive signal to the Iraqi people that they had not been forgotten, and to the international community and humanitarian organizations to do what they could to alleviate the lot of suffering people in Iraq.
JOHN NEGROPONTE (United States) said the decision to modify the oil-for-food programme was a positive step that the United States favoured. He welcomed the strong show of support by the Council for the resolution, which would help address the immediate needs of the Iraqi people. He was confident that the Secretary-General and the United Nations Office for the Iraq Programme would carry out the task of resuming the programme in the weeks ahead. The United States would coordinate the programme on the ground and distribute assistance as circumstances permitted. His country's bilateral aid commitment would remain robust and long term. He urged all governments to contribute to that effort. The people of Iraq had suffered too long under a situation not of their own choosing.
JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE (France) was gratified at the adoption of such an important text. It was important that the Iraqi people received the necessary food and medicine. It was also important that the text recalled the principles of international law and international humanitarian law. The Council had benefited from Benon Sevan's assistance to adjust the programme. He fully trusted the Secretary-General to implement the mandates entrusted to him. He was pleased with the results achieved, which had helped the Council recover its unity.
STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) welcomed the fact that the Council had unanimously adopted the resolution, which dealt with such an urgent matter. He was grateful to Ambassador Pleuger and his delegation for the excellent work done throughout recent days. The adoption of the resolution would not have been possible without the assistance of the Secretary-General, which had allowed the Council to regain its unity.
INOCENCIO ARIAS (Spain) congratulated Ambassador Pleuger and his team for their untiring efforts. After a few days of tension, today was an important day for the Council, which had united to tackle a serious humanitarian issue. The peoples of the world might have felt frustrated at what had been happening in the Council. What happened today could redress that situation and restore the image and unity of the Council.
Council President MAMADY TRAORÉ (Guinea), speaking in his national capacity, expressed his gratification at the unanimous adoption of the resolution. If the resolution had not been adopted, his delegation would have been very sad after all the efforts that had been put forth in March. The adoption of the text was indispensable to restoring the credibility of the Council. He paid tribute to the Secretary-General and Ambassador Pleuger, who had done everything in his power to build unity.
Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN said he was happy at the unanimous adoption of the resolution, which augured well for the future. He hoped the Council would be able to address the other tasks ahead of it with the same spirit.
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