Iraqi Papers Denounce U.N.'s ‘Unjust’ Resolutions on Oil Sale
Newspapers in Iraq expressed outrage Saturday at U.N. resolutions easing trade sanctions but keeping oil revenue out of Baghdad’s hands. But diplomats said President Saddam Hussein and his government have little choice but to comply with Thursday’s resolutions.
“Is it a Security Council or a house of prostitution?” asked Babil, a newspaper run by Hussein’s oldest son.
“Let the Security Council and its unfair resolutions go to hell,” the state-run Kurdish newspaper Al Iraq said in an editorial denouncing the U.N. body as a tool of U.S. policy.
“We will confront the unjust resolutions with endurance and solidarity,” declared an editorial in the government newspaper Al Jumhouriya.
But the government itself, which before Thursday’s U.N. vote rejected conditions contained in the resolution, withheld formal reaction, leading to speculation that the tirades might be for domestic consumption.
“Iraq can do nothing because they need some money for importing food and medicine,” one diplomat said. “They will have to agree within a few weeks.”
The resolution permits Iraq to sell up to $1.6 billion worth of oil over a six-month period, with purchasers paying the entire cost into a U.N. escrow account. Both the oil sales and the distribution of supplies would be subject to close U.N. scrutiny to prevent any diversion.
Continuing its reconstruction program after the Persian Gulf War, Iraq on Saturday restored limited international telephone service after more than six months without phone lines to the outside world, the Iraqi News Agency reported.
Also on Saturday, a U.N. diplomat reported that Iraq has returned $650 million in gold bars looted during its nearly seven-month occupation of Kuwait.