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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Plan for Iraqi Oil Worries Russia

Russia signaled its unease on Saturday over a U.S. draft resolution that would lift UN sanctions on Iraq and give Washington and its allies control over Baghdad's oil revenues.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov said the draft had some positive aspects but "there are also a number of parts that are not sufficiently clear and that require serious work and clarification."

The United States introduced a draft resolution on Friday that would give the UN stamp of approval to a U.S.-British occupation of Iraq for at least a year and give the Americans and British control of the country's oil wealth for rebuilding the country.

Under the American plan, the United Nations would have solely an advisory role, and its influence would be limited mostly to humanitarian issues.

"Most UN Security Council members, on the one hand, welcome the fact that the issue of the postwar rebuilding of Iraq has reached the Security Council," Fedotov told Interfax. "But, on the other hand, the U.S.-proposed draft resolution may raise numerous questions."

Fedotov said the document in particular "fails to provide a clear picture of the transition from the UN's oil-for-food program to the lifting of international sanctions against Iraq."

Russian officials have repeatedly said that the sanctions, imposed against Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, should be lifted but only after UN inspectors have verified that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Washington opposes the return of UN inspectors and has sent its own experts to look for banned weapons.

Fedotov indicated to Interfax that Russia would press for the UN to have a central role in postwar Iraq when the 15-member Security Council resumes consideration of the U.S. draft next week.

He said China was sending a senior official to Moscow on Monday for consultations on the Iraqi question.

Putin is to meet with President George W. Bush June 1 in St. Petersburg -- their first meeting since deep disagreement over the invasion of Iraq -- and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will be in Moscow this week to prepare for the summit.

French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der said Friday in Poland that they were open to "constructive negotiations" on the proposal. Chirac emphasized that the UN should play a central role.

China and France -- all veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council -- opposed the U.S.-led war to topple Saddam Hussein.

On Saturday, the 15 ambassadors of the Security Council joined UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for an annual retreat in upstate New York to discuss Washington's proposal for a special UN coordinator to work with U.S. and British administrators in Baghdad.

Experts from Security Council member missions were to study the draft at a closed meeting Monday at the United Nations. Council ambassadors will begin debate on the proposal Wednesday.

(AP, MT)

AP