Lifting Sanctions against Iraq is UN's Privilege

The economic sanctions were imposed on Iraq by the United Nations Security Council, and it is up to this body to lift them. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said this at a news conference following talks with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Prince Saud Al Faisal.

A US State Department envoy has arrived in Moscow today to discuss some aspects of a would-be resolution on Iraq, said the minister.

Russia is eager to join hands with the United States and other Council members to find agreeable solutions that would fall in line with the Iraqi people's interests and promote the Iraqi settlement, said Mr Ivanov.

Sources at the UN say the US-sponsored draft resolution on Iraq comprises an entire spectrum of related issues-it recognises legitimacy of the coalition's campaign in Iraq, lifts sanctions against the country, and voices the global community's resolve to prevent further plunders of rarities from Iraqi museums.

The US insists the proviso lifting the embargo from Iraq should be central in the resolution. It is this provision that is likely to stir up heated diplomatic debates, predict analysts.

The majority of the Council members insist that the sanctions should be lifted when UNMOVIC and IAEA experts have completed inspections in Iraq, something Washington is now opposed to.

The White House press service reported earlier that George Bush had lifted the sanctions the US administration imposed on Iraq in 1990. Cancelled were the restrictions on trade with Iraq as a country harbouring terrorism.

The press service then elaborated that the UN sanctions against Iraq, including those banning arms supplies, were still in force, and President Bush's decision concerns the US-imposed sanctions only.

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