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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Retains Iraq Sanctions After Fresh U.S. Accusation

UNITED NATIONS -- The Security Council has retained sanctions against Iraq after the United States, seeking to quash concern about hardships endured by ordinary Iraqis, accused Saddam Hussein of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on "pleasure palaces."

The U.S. council presentation came after Iraq's deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz handed U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright, the current council president, documents showing that Iraq had recognized Kuwait as an independent nation within borders specified by the United Nations last year.

The long-awaited move, enacted Thursday in Baghdad and engineered by Russia, was greeted positively by most council members.

Sanctions remained in place.

The key requirement towards easing the oil embargo -- making sure Iraq does not re-acquire weapons of mass destruction -- is not yet completed.

Albright made Saddam's building programs the main issue in Security Council discussions on sanctions, showing satellite photographs of palaces and luxury homes she said cost $500 million, being built for Iraq's elite.

In Moscow, a senior Foreign Ministry official criticized the U.S. stance, saying the tough attitude to sanctions reflected domestic political factors.