Thursday, Jun 12, 2003
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The External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, greeted by the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday. India's permanent representative to the U.N., Vijay Nambiar (centre), is also seen. AP
Mr. Annan expressed his appreciation yesterday during a 40-minute meeting with the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, who explained to Mr. Annan the salient points of the initiative aimed at improving relations with Pakistan.
During the wide-ranging discussions, Mr. Sinha stressed the need for the United Nations to ensure that contracts under Iraq's `oil-for-food' programme signed before the United States' military action are honoured.
India is among the countries, which were in the process of executing the contracts signed by the Saddam Hussein Government and approved by the United Nations when the war broke out.
The programme, now being implemented by the United Nations, is to be phased within six months and the money remaining in the ``oil for food'' programme would be transferred to the Iraq Development Fund which would be run by the United States-led coalition.
The United Nations is now deciding the priority of items that Iraq needs to import. Once the programme is phased out, it would be for the occupying powers to decide how and where to spend the money and oil revenues, which too are to be deposited in the development fund.
Mr. Annan briefed Mr. Sinha on the work being done by the United Nations and his special envoy to help the Iraqi people including at humanitarian level. The United Nations is prepared to participate in the political process, Mr. Annan told the Minister. At present, the United Nations' activities are limited mostly to humanitarian tasks and the United States and Britain are trying to assemble an Iraqi interim government. The two also discussed Afghanistan where, Mr. Annan said, the security environment is deteriorating and he stressed the need of ensuring stability and security. PTI
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