U.S. Ties Up Goods Headed for IraqThe Associated Press Monday, March 27, 2000; 8:29 p.m. EST
UNITED NATIONS -- Even as the United States announced it was allowing $100 million in equipment to go to Iraq through the U.N. humanitarian program, Washington tied up $7.6 million in new goods, U.N. figures showed Monday.
The figures also showed that most of the equipment that Washington released on Friday included cranes, forklift trucks, car batteries and refrigeration equipment.
The United States has tied up over $1 billion worth of goods in the U.N. sanctions committee arguing that it wants to make sure it cannot be used for military purposes.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and nearly every Security Council ambassador urged Washington to release the contracts at an open meeting of the Security Council on Friday so the equipment can repair Iraq's decayed electric, water, sanitation and oil infrastructure.
Deputy U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham announced at that meeting that Washington was releasing 70 contracts worth over $100 million and was conducting a review to see if there were ways to speed up its approval for contracts.
The United States is also sponsoring a resolution to double the amount of spare parts Iraq can buy through the program that is expected to be approved this week.
But at the same time, Washington put on hold another seven contracts worth $7.6 million, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said Monday, citing figures from the U.N. oil-for-food program.
The U.N. humanitarian program allows Iraq to sell its oil to buy humanitarian goods and equipment to repair its oil sector.