EU Commissioner Says U.S. Out to Seize Iraq's Oil
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - A European Union (news
sites) commissioner said on Friday he believed the United States aimed
to take control of Iraq (news
sites)'s oil and was 'on its way to becoming a member of OPEC (news
Poul Nielson, EU
Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, was speaking after the United States and Britain introduced a U.N.
draft resolution that would phase out an existing oil-for-food humanitarian
program for Iraq.
'They (the United States) will appropriate
the oil,' he told Danish public service DR radio news on return from a
three-day trip to Iraq. 'It is very
difficult to see how this would make sense in any other way.'
'I think that the United States is on its way to
becoming a member of OPEC,' he added, referring to the Organisation
of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Nielson, a Dane, said he did not expect U.S. troops who
have toppled Iraq's Saddam Hussein (news
sites) in a war launched in March would withdraw soon from the Arab
state, whose oil reserves are estimated by industry experts to be the
second largest in the world after Saudi Arabia's.
'It is very unclear what the Americans will end up
doing. That they would pull out quickly does not look realistic,' said
Nielson, whose visit to Iraq included talks with
U.S. administrator Jay
The tough U.S.-British draft Security Council resolution
would end 12 years of U.N. sanctions against Iraq and give them
control of the country's oil revenues for at least a year.
The proposal would deposit Iraqi oil revenues in an
'Iraqi Assistance Fund' for humanitarian and reconstruction purposes, to be
held by the Iraqi Central Bank, currently managed by Peter McPherson, a
former deputy U.S. Treasury secretary.
Nielson said Washington, whose draft
resolution in effect relegates the United Nations (news
sites) and other international institutions to an advisory role with
little power, planned to limit the U.N.'s role in Iraq.
'The unwillingness there is to give the United Nations a
genuine real, legal well-defined role, also in the broader context of
rebuilding Iraq after Saddam...also
speaks a language that is quite clear,' Nielson said.
Denmark, a member of NATO (news
sites), supported the U.S.-led war in Iraq. President Bush (news
sites) held talks with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh
Rasmussen in Washington on Thursday.
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