Office of the Press Secretary
November 21, 2003
Transfer of the UN Oil-For-Food Program
On November 21, the UN transferred responsibility for the administration of any remaining activity of the Oil-for-Food (OFF) program to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), marking another important step towards economic self-sufficiency for Iraq. Initiated by the United States and administered by the UN, the OFF program provided for the humanitarian needs of Iraqis by enabling oil proceeds to be used for food, medicine, and other civilian goods. In May 2003, UN Security Council Resolution 1483 lifted sanctions on Iraq and established a six-month wind-down of the OFF program. The intention of Security Council members was to allow the program to be phased out in a manner that ensured civilian needs would still be met.
Released on November 21, 2003
The Iraqi People
Provisions have been made to ensure the Iraqi people continue to receive humanitarian support after the program's termination. The CPA and Iraqi ministries will ensure that priority goods under approved and funded contracts will continue to be delivered to Iraq: These deliveries are expected to extend until mid-2004. Several UN agencies have agreed to help provide logistical training and expertise. The World Food Program will continue to play an important role, carrying out its responsibilities for handling renegotiation of remaining OFF food contracts and ensuring their delivery into Iraq through the end of June 2004. By that time, the Iraqi Ministry of Trade should be prepared to manage both the responsibility for the procurement and distribution of food. The longer-term goal is for Iraq to move to a market-based system for food provision. Companies interested in supplying food to the Iraqi market should contact the CPA and the Iraqi Ministry of Trade at this website: http://www.cpa-iraq.org
The Road Ahead
The CPA plans a timely and efficient transfer of responsibilities to Iraq as the country's own capacities are enhanced over the coming months. Under UN Security Council Resolution 1483, those contracts for humanitarian supplies and equipment that have been prioritized will be fulfilled, while other contracts will be turned over to a future Iraqi government for consideration. Remaining OFF funds will be deposited in the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI). Over $3 billion was transferred by the UN to this fund during the six-month wind-down period. CPA and Iraqi officials are establishing a Coordination Center in Baghdad to ensure the steady, secure and managed flow of non-food shipments. Questions about the status of contract prioritization, humanitarian deliveries, letters of credit, authentication of goods, contract processing, and transfer of assets and projects should be directed to this center.
Contact details for the Coordination Center follows:
Phone or fax: 914-509-6888 (in the U.S.), or
Comments on OFF's termination: http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/background/latest/bvs031119.html
Additional background on OFF: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2002/16176.htm