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Iraq: France Proposes Suspending UN Sanctions

United Nations, 22 April 2003 (RFE/RL) -- France has proposed the immediate suspension of nonmilitary sanctions against Iraq and an adjustment of the arms inspection regime. France's UN ambassador, Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, said after a UN Security Council meeting today that there needs to be a "practical and pragmatic" arrangement that reflects the new conditions in Iraq.

"I also proposed that there should be some work to find practical and pragmatic arrangements which, in our view, is necessary to coordinate and to combine the work of the American teams on the ground [in Iraq] and the work of UNMOVIC [United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission] and IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] so that the Iraqi disarmament could be internationally verified," de La Sabliere said.

The ambassador said France is proposing that U.S. teams doing inspection work in Iraq coordinate their work with UN monitors. France's proposal was made orally and has not yet been presented as a formal document.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said the United States would work with France on how to achieve the lifting of sanctions. But he said the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq has now assumed responsibility for disarming Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and did not foresee a role for UN inspectors.

Chief UN inspector Hans Blix told the council today that his arms inspectors are ready to return to Iraq as soon as security conditions permit. He said council resolutions make his mandate to verify Iraqi disarmament still valid.