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Iraq: Powell Says U.S. Wants Unanimous Security Council Support For Lifting Sanctions

Berlin, 15 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Secretary of State Colin Powell has said the United States hopes to win the United Nations Security Council's unanimous support for a resolution lifting the sanctions on Iraq. Powell spoke today while flying to Germany after a visit to Bulgaria. Both Bulgaria and Germany are members of the Security Council, which is due later today to consider the U.S. draft resolution that calls for the lifting of sanctions on Iraq.

During his talks in Sofia, Powell said the United States is prepared to consider a temporary suspension of the Iraq sanctions, but still hopes to see them completely lifted. He said that once sanctions end, oil can be marketed freely to provide revenue for the Iraqi people.

Powell thanked Bulgaria for its support for the Iraq war and welcomed the country's planned accession to NATO next year.

"Bulgaria, despite its relatively small size, is playing a big role in the trans-Atlantic alliance and I think that's recognized by the unanimous vote that came out of the United States Senate for the accession protocol that will move Bulgaria closer to full NATO membership," Powell said.

Bulgaria has offered to host U.S. military bases if the United States decides to shift its forces in Europe eastwards. Powell said the United States has not yet decided on moving military bases to Eastern Europe and a decision is not imminent.