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U.N. widens Iraqi trade block

The Security Council vote has been welcomed by the U.S.
The Security Council vote has been welcomed by the U.S.

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council has voted to place more restrictions on items Iraq is allowed to buy with oil profits.

The additions to the items already restricted include chemicals, medicines, and large trucks -- as well as "dual-use" items that some countries claim Iraq could use in the case of war.

For example, quantities of the drugs cipro and atrophine, which can be used, respectively, to treat exposure to biological agents and nerve gas, will be restricted to quantities adequate for "consumer consumption" but not enough to supply the Iraqi military.

The same restriction will apply to activated carbon, which can be used for the absorption of chemical weapons.

The vote, on Monday, was 13 for changes to the 419-page "goods list," none against. Russia and Syria abstained.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham said the vote achieved most of what the United States wanted to accomplish.

"The scope, intent, thrust of the effort was certainly shared by all the council members," he said.

He said the vote would creating an "ongoing dynamic process, to ensure that the list is as precise, relevant as it can be" while "dual-use items are not making it through the system."

Mohammed Aldouri, the Iraqi ambassador, said the plan will "hinder and create obstacles in the implementation of the oil-for-food program under the pretext of dual use."

He added: "We have made it quite clear that the (oil-for-food) program has not been able to respond to the needs of the Iraqi people and nothing but the lifting of the sanctions will end the suffering of the Iraqi people."

He accused the Security Council of using a double standard in dealing with Iraq.

"It prevents everything," said Aldouri, saying the list restricts Iraq in areas ranging from medicine to communications.

"It hinders the humanitarian supplies," he said.

Mikhail Wehbe, the Syrian ambassador, said the new rules only complicate the sanctions on Iraq, something his country could not support.

"Syria feels that Iraq's cooperation with the U.N. weapons inspectors and its constructive approach in dealing with Resolution 1441 should inevitably lead to the lifting of sanctions imposed against Iraq, and not to complicating by adding further restrictions under the pretext of the dual use of certain goods," he said.

The lists was published as U.N. weapons inspectors descended on a munitions factory and a water treatment facility Monday. (Full story)

Monday's visits were among those being conducted by at least five separate teams of inspectors.

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