Russia hopes Iraq will have completed its remaining disarmament obligations in time for the U.N. Security Council to ease Iraq's oil embargo in April, Russia's ambassador to the U.N. Sergei Lavrov said.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Lavrov said the Security Council is expected to meet in April to discuss the status of Iraqi disarmament. However, he said Russia thinks Baghdad has met enough U.N. demands to warrant an easing now in some non-oil sanctions, including import and export restrictions of nonstrategic goods.The Russian envoy admitted that Iraq still had to provide the United Nations with some data on its weapons programs prior to the Persian Gulf war, an issue that has been stressed by U.N. arms chief Rolf Ekeus.
However, Mr. Lavrov said he believes Iraq has completed most of its
Mr. Lavrov said he expects Mr. Ekeus to give a report to the council in April. Mr. Ekeus reports to the council on disarmament each month, but April is particularly significant because by then, the U.N. system for long-term monitoring of Iraq weapons will have been provisionally operational for six months.
Mr. Ekeus has said that six months might be enough time for him to declare that monitoring the final stage in disarmament is complete, although he has backed away from making any predictions lately.
Russia is one of the Security Council members that believe that the lifting of Iraq's oil embargo should be linked only to disarmament. As reported, the United States reiterated it believes Iraq also must meet a number of other demands, and convince the United States of its overall peaceful intentions in the Persian Gulf.
Regarding the easing of non-oil sanctions, Mr. Lavrov admitted there is not enough of a consensus at the Security Council to support any easing of those sanctions now.