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Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 14, 2003

Iraq Goods Review List

The United States is at the forefront of efforts to bring about compliance by Iraq with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, dating back to Resolution 661 of August 1990. The resolutions include sanctions designed to prevent the Iraqi regime from furthering its military and weapons of mass destruction programs. At the same time, the provisions that allow some imports under these sanctions enable Iraq to use its resources to acquire goods needed to improve the lives of its citizens. These international efforts, initiated by the United States and administered by the United Nations under the Oil-for-Food (OFF) Program (see Fact Sheet 2002/1151, December 20, 2002), have allowed Baghdad to sell oil and purchase purely civilian goods necessary to provide for Iraq's civilian needs.

In May 2002, the United States led an initiative to streamline UN procedures for the export of goods into Iraq under the Oil-For-Food Program. This initiative expedited authorization for the export and subsequent flow of all goods, except those prohibited under the arms embargo or contained on a list of "dual-use" items that could have military or weapons of mass destruction applications. Goods identified by UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical experts as being items on this list, the "Goods Review List" or GRL, are subject to review by UN Security Council members for authorization for export to Iraq.

When Resolution 1409 passed in May 2002, the Security Council envisioned that "regular, thorough reviews" of the List and the procedures for its implementation would occur, and that any necessary adjustments would be made. The Security Council has now carried out one such review and as a result has agreed to revisions to both the List and procedures. These changes, adopted in Security Council Resolution 1454 on December 30, 2002, reflect the will of the UN Security Council on how best to ensure the steady flow of purely civilian goods to the Iraqi people, while maintaining critical controls on items that could be exploited for military uses by Saddam Hussein.

Resolution 1454 heightens the scrutiny over exports of a discrete set of goods that could support the Iraqi military and facilitate the development and use of weapons of mass destruction. Among the goods added to the revised GRL: specified chemicals and equipment useful in the production of chemical and biological weapons and their precursors; medical autoinjectors useful in the event of battlefield or terrorist chemical weapons use; guidance equipment and jammers with military applications; and other vehicles and related technology of value in particular military applications. Under certain conditions, specified medicines with particular value in chemical and biological warfare applications will also be reviewed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will the changes deny needed medicines to the Iraqi people?

A: No. The UN Sanctions Committee on Iraq will review requests for specified medications that have military use, when the requests are for quantities grossly in excess of any humanitarian civilian requirement. The United States opposes allowing the Iraqi military to stockpile quantities of certain medicines that could be used to protect its troops in the event Iraq used chemical or biological weapons.

Q: What other goods will be denied to the Iraqi population by the changes to the List?

A: The adopted changes do not automatically deny any item to the Iraqi people. The Goods Review List is not a denial list. Resolution 1454 simply calls for the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer items that have military applications to the Security Council for review.

Q: Will the changes to the List otherwise affect the import of civilian goods into Iraq?

A: The changes do not alter the objective of UNSC Resolution 1409, which created the present Goods Review List. The objective was to streamline UN oversight of the export to Iraq of purely civilian goods, while maintaining critical controls on militarily useful items. By enhancing international confidence in the accuracy and effectiveness of controls on dual-use items, some known to have been misused by Iraq, the adopted revisions facilitate both the implementation of the Oil-for-Food Program and the import of civilian goods not subject to the Program.

Q: Will the changes in procedures delay the approval of contracts?

A: No. In fact, resolution 1454 underscored the Council's intention to ensure that needed humanitarian supplies reach the Iraqi population as rapidly as possible. This new resolution does not change the requirement for the evaluation of contracts for exports to Iraq. Under Resolution 1409, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conduct an initial evaluation of all export contracts submitted to the UN's Office of Iraq Programs. The procedural changes adopted under Resolution 1454 do, however, clarify the responsibilities of UNMOVIC and IAEA in making their evaluations, and minimize ambiguities in those deliberations.

Released on January 14, 2003

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