Over 7 million in humanitarian contracts for Iraq approved under new UN

The UN Office of the Iraq Programme said the first batch of 14 humanitarian supply contracts – worth more than $7.62 million – that had been previously placed on hold by the Security Council’s Iraq sanctions committee were approved last week following their re-assessment in accordance with the new system.The new procedures stem from Security Council resolution 1409, which makes it possible for States to more quickly process contracts on all goods that are not directly subject to the sanctions in place since Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and are not referenced on a Goods Review List. Applications are reviewed by experts from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine whether the contract in question contains any item covered by the sanctions or included on the List. All applications containing any military goods will be rejected, while experts will pay particular attention to so-called “dual-use” items, namely those that might have both civilian and military applicationsIn the case of the first batch of contracts released from hold since the system became effective on 15 July, UNMOVIC and IAEA experts found they contained no items on the List, so they were automatically approved. The Office of the Iraq Programme predicts that the new procedures would eliminate any contracts put on hold in the coming months. Currently, 2,141 contracts, worth over $5.39 billion, are on hold. Contracts are generally put on hold because they lack technical specifications or because the goods in question have the potential to be used for purposes other than those stated.The Office also reported today that over the past week, Iraqi exported 8 million barrels of crude under the UN oil-for-food programme, down from the previous week’s total of 9.8 million. With the price of Iraqi oil averaging approximately €23.60 (euros) or $23.60 per barrel, Baghdad earned an estimated €188 million or $189 million in revenue under the scheme, which sets aside a portion of those funds for the purchase of relief aid.