22 May 2003
Text: U.S. Hails U.N. Vote to Lift Sanctions on Iraq
(Negroponte calls move "momentous event for the people of Iraq")
The United States expressed its appreciation to the U. N. Security
Council May 22 following the overwhelming vote by 14 to
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte called the
decision a "momentous event for the people of Iraq."
"After more than a decade of being frozen out of the world economy, it
is time for the Iraqi people to benefit from their natural resources,"
Negroponte said the resolution establishes, among other things, a
framework for an orderly phase-out of the Oil-for-Food program,
establishes transparency in monitoring the sale of Iraqi oil
resources, and lifts export restrictions to Iraq, with the exception
of trade in arms.
He thanked the United Nations for playing a vital role in rebuilding
Iraq. "The resolution affirms our commitment to the development of an
internationally recognized, representative government of Iraq,"
Following is the text of Negroponte's remarks:
United States Mission to the United Nations
USUN PRESS RELEASE
May 22, 2003
Explanation of Vote by Ambassador John D. Negroponte, United States
Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Resolution to
Lift Sanctions on Iraq, Security Council, May 22, 2003
Thank you Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General. The lifting of
sanctions marks a momentous event for the people of Iraq. It is the
turning of a historical page that should brighten the future of a
people and a region.
The threatening actions and defiance of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime
prolonged the imposition of sanctions for nearly 13 years. Those
sanctions have now been lifted. The liberation of Iraq has cleared the
path for today's action. We all witnessed an Iraqi state under Saddam
Hussein that was unwilling adequately to feed its people, a state in
which critical infrastructure projects were left to languish while
luxurious palaces were built, and a state in which free political
expression was cruelly repressed and punished. Together, this Council
has taken decisive action to help the Iraqi people.
My government called for this vote this morning because we firmly
believed that each additional day of debate over the language of this
important text would further hinder recovery. The gas lines are long,
despite blessedly little damage to Iraq's residual infrastructure.
After more than a decade of being frozen out of the world economy, it
is time for the Iraqi people to benefit from their natural resources.
President Bush and Prime Minister Blair said last month at
Hillsborough that the United Nations should play a vital role in
In passing this resolution, we have achieved much for the Iraqi
people. By recognizing the fluidity of the political situation and
that decisions will be made on the ground, the Security Council has
provided a flexible framework under Chapter VII for the Coalition
Provisional Authority, member states, the United Nations and others in
the international community to participate in the administration and
reconstruction of Iraq and to assist the Iraqi people in determining
their political future, establishing new institutions, and restoring
economic prosperity to the country.
The resolution affirms our commitment to the development of an
internationally recognized, representative government of Iraq. It
creates a robust mandate for a Special Representative of the Secretary
General, including to work with the people of Iraq, the Authority, and
others concerned -- including neighboring states -- to help make this
vision a reality.
The resolution establishes a framework for an orderly phase-out of the
Oil-for-Food program, thereby preserving, for a transitional period,
what has become an important safety net for the people of Iraq.
The resolution establishes transparency in all processes and United
Nations participation in monitoring the sale of Iraqi oil resources
and expenditure of oil proceeds. In that context, I am pleased to
announce the creation of the Development Fund for Iraq in the Central
Bank of Iraq. As the resolution underlines, the Authority will
disburse the funds only for the purposes it determines to benefit the
The resolution lifts export restrictions to Iraq, with the exception
of trade in arms and related materiel not required by the Coalition
Provisional Authority. Aviation restrictions are also lifted, but
Iraq's disarmament obligations remain and member states remain barred
from assisting Iraq in acquiring weapons of mass destruction,
proscribed missile systems or proceeding with civil nuclear activities
so long as those restrictions remain in effect.
The resolution provides Iraq with adequate time to recover capacity
eroded during the sanctions years, yet it preserves its obligations to
Kuwait and others who suffered from Saddam Hussein's aggression dating
from 1990. It addresses Iraq's sovereign debt, protection of Iraqi
antiquities and accountability for serious violations of human rights
and international humanitarian law by the previous regime. It also
directs member states to act quickly to seize and return to the Iraqi
people money stolen by Saddam Hussein's regime.
But, Mr. President, we cannot be complacent. Now that we have adopted
this resolution, the work must begin on implementing it. The
Secretariat and the new Special Representative of the Secretary
General must prepare for their work on the urgent humanitarian,
reconstruction and political tasks, to which it will contribute.
Member states must work to fulfill the obligations and provisions
contained in the resolution. For our part, in addition to our
responsibilities in Iraq as leaders of the Coalition Provisional
Authority, we will undertake to inform the Council on a quarterly
basis of progress in implementing the resolution, in the spirit of
Operational Paragraph 24.
The United States is appreciative of the constructive spirit with
which the Council has considered and strengthened the provisions of
the text we put forward with our co-sponsors. We look forward to
working closely with all of you to implement this important decision.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)