USA Will Not Exclude Russia from Oil-for-Food Programme

The USA will not exclude Russia from participating in the UN humanitarian programme Oil-for-Food in Iraq, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov.

"They cannot do that," he emphasised in an interview with the Vremya Novostei newpaper. "It is a UN humanitarian programme. It is the UN that is responsible for the contracts. The accounts belong to the UN, and they have not been frozen by the USA, unlike other Iraqi accounts," the deputy minister explained.

At present, there is no talk of "radically changing the Oil-for-Food programme in Iraq", he said. "It should remain, it has not been cancelled, it was founded by the UN Security Council and only it can decide its fate," Fedotov emphasised. The USA "is also taking part in the consultations on technical readjustment of the programme's elements", he reported.

Russia will take an active part in this programme, Fedotov announced. At present, the humanitarian situation in Iraq is causes serious anxiety, he pointed out. "Russia's economic and trade presence in Iraq is a factor that has always existed," the diplomat emphasised. "Our companies have stable positions in Iraq and we will be trying to preserve these positions," he added.

At present, Russia is working on compensating Russian companies' losses caused by the military action, the deputy minister announced. "The Foreign Ministry is doing its best to ensure that losses that can be inflicted by Russian companies are reimbursed," Fedotov assured. For this, Russia is holding consultations with judicial experts from the UN Secretariat, he added.