Iraq's oil minister said his nation can increase its oil exports dramatically within three months. The scale of the increase, however, will depend on how quickly the United Nations approves a recommendation by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to allocate $300 million to repair Iraq's oil industry, the minister said. Iraq currently exports 1.6 million barrels a day and will soon increase that to 1.8 million barrels daily even with the current condition of facilities, the minister, Amer Mohammed Rashid, told reporters. The figure can be further boosted to 2 million barrels daily "within a few weeks" and 2.4 million barrels in three months if the U.N. expedites approval for import of "urgently needed" spare parts, he said. Iraq is allowed to sell limited quantities of oil under the U.N.'s oil-for-food program aimed at providing some relief from U.N. economic sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Iraq, however, must use the oil revenue to buy food, medicines and humanitarian goods, which can only be distributed under a U.N.-approved plan.
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