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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Offers UN New System To Disarm Iraq, End Embargo

UNITED NATIONS -- Russia chimed in Friday with its own proposal to solve the Iraq impasse, echoing French calls to lift the oil embargo on Baghdad but saying the Security Council should first approve a new weapons monitoring mechanism using outside experts.

Under the Russian initiative, the embargo could be lifted once the council receives a report from an assessment team on Iraq's disarmament status and decides to start the new monitoring system.

Russia's proposal, which was being distributed to council members, suggests that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, Netherlands, now monitor suspected chemical weapons sites in Iraq.

That task has been carried out by the UN Special Commission, which was formed after the Persian Gulf War in 1991 to search out and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. According to UN resolutions, the embargo cannot be lifted before inspectors determine Iraq is free of mass-destruction weapons.

Moscow has repeatedly criticized the work of the Special Commission and its executive chairman, Richard Butler, claiming they provoked the December U.S. and British airstrikes on Iraq.

The airstrikes "resulted in actual termination of [UN commission] activities'' in disarming Iraq, the Russian proposal says. "[The commission] in its present format obviously cannot any longer work in Iraq.''

Russia proposes that the Hague-based organization could also monitor Iraqi biological programs until an organization is established within the framework of a biological weapons treaty.

The International Atomic Energy Agency would continue its job of monitoring Iraq's nuclear weapons programs.

The proposal was the third concrete initiative to be submitted to the council this week in a bid to restart discussions on Iraq that deadlocked following the Dec. 17-20 airstrikes.

France offered its thoughts first, suggesting an immediate lifting of the embargo while instituting a new monitoring mechanism designed to prevent Iraq from acquiring any more banned weapons. That would be a shift from the work of the UN commission, which was designed to find and destroy weapons Iraq was believed to already possess.

The United States on Thursday offered a proposal that dealt solely with the humanitarian aspect of getting more food and medicine to Iraqis suffering under the eight-year-old embargo.