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News Briefs II

Annan Urges Oil for Food' Boost

The Washington Post

Secretary General Kofi Annan SM '72 said Monday that the $2 billion worth of oil that Iraq is allowed to sell every six months as part of a United Nations "oil for food" program is not enough to relieve the "urgent humanitarian requirements in Iraq" and should be increased.

Iraq, which always has been lukewarm about the program, said today that it might not renew its cooperation if the deal is not changed to prevent the United States from blocking or delaying oil sales.

In a formal report to the Security Council, Annan said that after a year's experience with the "oil for food" exemption to U.N. sanctions on Iraq, "the population of Iraq continues to face a serious nutritional and health situation and there is an urgent need to contain the risk of a further deterioration."

Under the program, which went into effect last December, Iraq can make oil sales of $2 billion every six months to obtain funds for purchasing food, medicine and humanitarian supplies. These funds, which are monitored closely by the United Nations, are intended to ease the situation of Iraqi citizens while their country remains under stringent U.N. sanctions imposed after the 1990 invasion of neighboring Kuwait.

The sanctions cannot be lifted until the Security Council is satisfied that President Saddam Hussein's government has eliminated all its weapons of mass destruction.

Nixon Tapes Subject of Controversy

The Washington Post

The Justice Department has told an appellate court here that the government is required by law to maintain the integrity of President Richard M. Nixon's White House tapes and that it has no obligation to cut out portions of them to satisfy the demands of Nixon's estate.

A federal court has ordered the National Archives to return all "personal or private conversations" on the original tapes to the late president's estate "forthwith." In an appeal brief filed late last Wednesday, however, lawyers at Justice said this would jeopardize "virtually all" of the 950 reels of tape from the Nixon presidency that Congress confiscated by law in 1974 to keep Nixon from destroying them.

The stated purpose of the bill that became the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974, the 44-page brief said, was "to protect and preserve tape recordings involving former President Richard M. Nixon and made during his tenure." A provision of the law explicitly directs the archivist of the United States to protect the recordings "from loss or destruction."

At issue are 820 hours of private or personal conversations scattered throughout the 4,000 hours recorded on Nixon's sound-activated taping system from 1971 to 1973, when the setup was disclosed during Senate hearings on the Watergate scandals.

Nixon lawyers contend the private portions of the originals must be returned to them under a section of the 1974 law calling for adoption of regulations providing for public access to the tapes but respecting the "the need" to give Nixon or his heirs "sole custody and use" of the personal segments.

Citing government experts who said the originals are too fragile to be cut up without permanent damage, the Justice lawyers said the "sole custody" exception applies only to the rules for public access.