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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

United States, Britain Given Thumbs up on Interim Plan to Run Iraq by Security Council

Aired May 22, 2003 - 20:25   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: At 10 a.m., the U.N. Security Council gave the thumbs up to the interim plan to run Iraq.
CNN's Michael Okwu, is following the story and he joins us live from the United Nations this evening.

Michael, good evening.

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Daryn.

KAGAN: How much power does this give not only the United States but Britain?

OKWU: Well, in a word, a lot. In fact, Security Council diplomats have been talking about that for quite some time now. The fact is that the road to any transitional government or Iraqi interim authority is definitely going to go through the United States and Great Britain. There's talk in this resolution about a U.N. special representative. But make no mistake about it, the United States is where the buck is going to stop literally.

In fact, when you look at the control the United States and Great Britain will have over the oil industry, it's fairly breathtaking. The fact is there will be an Iraqi development fund established as a result of the passing of this resolution. All of Iraq's oil revenues will go into that fund. There will be some international monitoring of that fund. But the United States and Great Britain will have firm control to use that money to pay for reconstruction costs. Here's the U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte earlier today.

JOHN NEGROPONTE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: The lifting of sanctions marks a momentous event for the people of Iraq. It is the turning of a historical page that should brighten the future of a people and a region.

OKWU: Anyone who has any difficulty seeing the United States wield power in that region is just going to have to grin and bare it for quite some time.

KAGAN: Speaking of baring it for years before this war, the argument of dropping or lifting these sanctions were that the people were suffering. Now that they'll be lifted, at least within the next six months, what change will the average Iraqi see? OKWU: For quite some time the average Iraqi was not able to receive money from abroad. There are hundreds of thousands of Iraqis living around the world. They will finally be able to send money freely to some of their friends and relatives in the country. Commercial flights will resume again. But one of the things that is most important is investments in the country again. We've talked about the oil industry. Everybody knows Iraq as big producer of oil. They'll be able to pump oil again. But specifically, the agricultural industry experts say is likely to boom as a result of this. Apparently the Iraqi people can only produce a third of what they need to eat. Experts say that within the next year or so, perhaps they will be able as a result of investments to produce more food for themselves. So finally the Iraqis might be able to feed themselves -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Michael Okwu at the United Nations, thank you for that.

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