Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Hamid Bayati has said they Iraq will ask the UN today for complete control of oil reserves including money held by the
US Federal Reserve from the sale of oil, as well as a lowered amount of money "owed" by Iraq for war reparations.
The Iraqi delegation will argue that since the reparations are for wars started by Saddam Hussein, the new Iraqi government should not be liable for
paying them. They will further argue that the two countries owed the greatest damages, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, benefited from the ban on exportation
of Iraqi Oil. Presumably they will argue that this is tantamount to paying reparations.
Currently, Iraq's reparations "debt" has been set at 5% of oil revenues.
Iraq is expected to take control of the funds after the Coalition hands formal power to Iraqi leaders on 30 June, though the US wants to keep an
international board in place to monitor the account.
Mr Bayati said that Iraq must play a full role in any decision making process.
Iraq has so far paid about $20bn (£11.3bn) in war reparations and the UN last year cut the percentage of oil revenue it hands over to 5% from 25%.
But money from the sale of crude oil is set to play a vital role in financing the rebuilding of Iraq, as well as helping the nation re-establish its
independence, analysts said.
Since the US-led invasion of Iraq last year, revenue from oil sales has totalled more than $9 billion.
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Perhaps the reparations could be deferred at least a bit to let these poor folks rebuild and get back on their feet. As for culpability, that is a
tough issue. Who is really responsible? I guess the only fair way is to hold the entire country respnsible for the actions of their leader, no matter
how well-liked or disliked that leader may have been.
Just how much do they "owe"? How long would it take to pay off? At 5% of $9 billion per year, they would pay out roughly $450 million.
[Edited on 19-5-2004 by Zion Mainframe]