WASHINGTON, DC, July 9 -- The United Nations' Security Council and Iraq Monday agreed to extend the UN's oil-for-aid program for 5 months, UN officials said.
The move is expected to mean that after a month-long impasse, Iraq will soon resume exporting its 2 million b/d to world markets.
Last month the council extended the oil program for just 1 month instead of the usual 6 in order for members to review a new sanction proposal sponsored by the UK and the US. But Russia, Iraq's supporter on the council, threatened to veto the new sanctions plan, saying it was too restrictive. Iraq meanwhile cut off its 2 million b/d of exports under the UN quota in protest of the revised sanctions.
Since then, the US and UK officially have withdrawn their "smart" sanction plan, which would have relaxed some economic embargos against Iraq provided the country's leaders allowed the UN to perform more vigorous weapons inspections and restrict military equipment.
But diplomats say they hope to offer another retooled sanctions proposal in the "near" future. It remains unclear whether the US and UK will consider offering the plan before or after the next oil-for-aid arrangement is scheduled to be reviewed in December.