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UN Security Council Ready To Lift Saddam-Era Sanctions

UNITED NATIONS (RFE/RL) -- The United Nations Security Council has indicated its readiness to lift remaining economic sanctions against Iraq, provided Baghdad complies with its international obligations.

The sanctions were imposed in 1991 in response to the occupation of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein's regime.

Council members adopted unanimously a presidential statement drafted by the United States that requests that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assess Iraqi cooperation on nonproliferation.

Speaking on behalf of the council, the French ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud said Iraq is now compliance with its obligations not to produce or use chemical weapons.

"The Security Council underlines its readiness, once the necessary steps have been taken, to review with a view towards lifting the restrictions in resolutions 687 of 1991 and 707 of 1991 related to weapons of mass destruction and civil nuclear activities," Araud said.

The lifting of the sanctions would allow Iraq to boost its economy, particularly in its agricultural sector. Under the current sanctions, Iraq is prohibited from producing pesticides.

Iraq's ambassador to the UN Hamid Al-Bayati said lifting sanctions has the potential to generate up to $24 billion in trade.

The Security Council did not address sanctions related to compensation payments Iraq owes to Kuwait.

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