Moscow, 19 December 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Russian and U.S. diplomats today opened talks in Moscow over UN sanctions on Iraq, with officials expected to focus on the formation of a new goods review list to revise import sanctions. The list would go into effect when the current oil-for-food program, under which Iraq can sell its oil and use the proceeds to buy food and other vital goods, expires on 30 May 2002.
The UN Security Council in early December extended for a further six months the oil-for-food program.
After initially opposing it, Moscow agreed for the first time to consider revising the system to introduce "smart sanctions" proposed by the United States and Britain. Russia, however, is pushing for eventual lifting of the sanctions and trying to persuade Iraq to allow the UN to resume arms inspections, a precondition for lifting the punitive measures.