Iraqi leadership accepts, slams changes to sanctions

Friday, May 17, 2002

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq begrudgingly accepted a new U.N. resolution that makes sweeping changes to the current sanctions program, but still criticized the new measures Thursday, saying they exposed America's "tendency toward harming Iraq."

The comments come two days after the U.N. Security Council revamped the sanctions to speed the delivery of food and medicine and also strengthen an 11-year-old military embargo.

It extends a humanitarian program under which Iraq can sell oil for things like food, medicine and educational services.

Tuesday's vote was the greatest change in the humanitarian program since its launch in 1996 to help Iraq's people cope with sanctions imposed after President Saddam Hussein sent troops into Kuwait in 1990. Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf told the official Iraqi News Agency that "Iraq will reluctantly accept Resolution 1409 regarding the renewal of the oil-for-food deal for another six months."

In a separate statement, the Iraqi leadership described the new U.N. sanctions plan as a U.S. manipulation of the Security Council.

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