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US, Britain Reject Annan Criticism Over Iraq Oil Smuggling

  • VOA News

The United States and Britain have rejected charges that they are partly to blame for the scandal with the United Nations' oil-for-food program for Iraq. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Thursday that most of Iraq's illicit profits came from shipping oil through Turkey and Jordan -- transactions he said the United States and Britain possibly knew of, but ignored. In London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said suggestions that Britain ignored such shipments are inaccurate. The spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations ,Richard Grenell said there is a fundamental difference between smuggling and a public U.S. decision to grant special waivers to Jordan and Turkey to import Iraqi oil. The UN oil-for-food program allowed Saddam Hussein's government to sell oil to buy critical supplies for Iraqi civilians, but investigators say Saddam's regime made billions of dollars in illegal profits.
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