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Middle East

UN gives go-ahead for Iraqi nuclear programme

media US Vice President Joe Biden (R) and Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari … Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday gave Iraq the green light to develop a nuclear programme, ending 19 years of international sanctions on Iraq. Three council resolutions ended penalties over weapons of mass destruction and ended the UN oil-for-food programme for Iraq.

One resolution lifted sanctions imposed in 1991 to stop Iraq building nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, even though Iraq has yet to ratify the International Atomic Energy Agency’s protocol. US Vice President Joe Biden urged Iraq to ratify it as soon as possible.

A second resolution ended the oil-for-food programme, which allowed Saddam Hussein to use oil money to buy food and medicine between 1996 and 2003.

The third resolution extended UN protection by six months for hundreds of millions of dollars in the Development Fund for Iraq, which was set up after the 2003 war to handle oil and other revenues.

France abstained in the vote on oil-fo-food vote. The other two resolutions were passed unanimously.

US Vice President Joe Biden and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised the Iraqi government but said Iraq must make a final peace with its neighbour Kuwait.

Biden said that while Iraq still has security problems, the number of violent attacks is now at a low since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Iraq still pays five percent of revenues from its oil sales into a fund which pays reparations to Kuwait, which has demanded that Iraq pay another 16.5 billion euros.

Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said improving relations with Kuwait would top the agenda of the new Iraqi government.

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