LOSS HITS UN COFFERS
By PAUL THARP
The United Nations lost its only cash cow with the shutdown of
Iraq's oil fields - profits of more than $300 million a year.
The UN has been taking a tidy gain
acting as a partner for Iraq for the past 11 years to sell its embargoed oil
in exchange for food and medical supplies.
"It was the only profitable thing at
the UN," said one oil analyst. "It paid for a lot of programs and overhead
The UN controlled the sale of as
much as $200 billion in Iraqi oil since the 1996 economic embargo started
against Iraq. One of the biggest buyers of the oil was the U.S., according
to a UN spokesman.
Of all the oil sales handled through
the UN, a total of 72 percent went to the Security Council to allocate to
Iraq and other humanitarian programs, said a UN source.
Another 25 percent of the oil cash
went into the coffers of a compensation fund for Kuwaiti victims in the 1991
Gulf war. The UN's own in-house take for handling the oil sales contracts
through a worldwide vendor network was 2.2 percent. The remaining 0.8
percent of the cash went to bankroll the UN weapons inspectors for the past
several years, the UN source said.
"Everyone on the Security Council
liked the arrangement because of the relief money it provided," said oil
analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron, Hanover.
He said the UN also arranged for the
purchase of food and pharmaceuticals with the oil money.