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Security Council Renews Sanctions Despite Baghdad's Concessions

By Julia Preston
The Washington Post

The Security Council renewed stiff commercial sanctions against Baghdad Monday after a debate that accentuated differences among Council powers over how long the trade embargo should continue.

In spite of Iraq's decision last week to recognize Kuwait, the 15-nation Security Council concluded in a regularly scheduled 60-day review of the sanctions that it is not yet time to lift them. Council members agreed that Iraq's concession on Kuwait had come too late for this review.

Because of conflicting views among permanent members, primarily the United States and Russia, the Council could not agree on a public statement about its reasons for maintaining the sanctions.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz met briefly Monday morning with U.S. Ambassador Madeleine K. Albright in her function as this month's Security Council president, to hand her a formal notice of Baghdad's decision Thursday to acknowledge Kuwait's sovereignty and to accept a U.N.-drawn border between the two countries. Iraq thus completed the last step required by the United Nations following the 1991 Persian Gulf War for renouncing its claims to the oil-rich emirate, which Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had long asserted was Iraq's "19th province."

A severe U.N. ban on most commerce with Iraq, imposed in 1990 after Saddam invaded Kuwait, has blocked Baghdad from earning $15 billion a year from its petroleum, by Iraqi estimates, and left its economy in a shambles.

Albright reiterated Washington's view that the Council should not consider easing the sanctions until Iraq has shown its commitment to peace by complying over a long, open-ended period with the letter and spirit of the full range of the U.N. resolutions, including those that do not directly govern the economic sanctions.

Russian delegate Sergei Lavrov said the Council should establish a six-month testing period and then lift the oil embargo if Iraq has complied consistently with the one resolution that refers to the sanctions. Saddam was persuaded to recognize Kuwait by Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, as part of a strategy to end the sanctions against the Arab nation, which owes Moscow $4 billion in unpaid arms debts. France, another veto-bearing permanent member, agrees with Russia.

Albright displayed 12 satellite photographs showing sites where she said Saddam is lavishly renovating or building 30 palaces for himself and his close relatives and followers