Iraq is rejecting a new UN Security Council resolution that would revive the world body's food program for Iraq under the authority of U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Speaking to reporters in Baghdad Saturday, Iraq's Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan called the UN decision illegal, and said it cannot be implemented.
Iraqi officials say Baghdad must have a role in administering the "Oil-for Food" program, which allows the United Nations to use Iraqi oil revenues to buy food and medicine for about 13 million Iraqis.
The rejection comes a day after the Security Council voted to give Mr. Annan more authority to run the program for the next 45 days.
The Secretary General halted the program on March 17th, when he pulled U-N workers out of Iraq on the eve of the US-led invasion of the country.
Mr. Annan says the military situation in Iraq will dictate how quickly the food program can be restarted.
Separately Friday, the world body launched an appeal for two-point-two billion dollars to help feed needy Iraqis for six months. More than half the money will be used by the Rome-based World Food Program to purchase food.
In southern Iraq, a British military ship carrying about two hundred tons of food, bottled water and relief supplies has begun off-loading its cargo at the Iraqi deepwater port of Umm Qasr. Officials said the ship's arrival was delayed several days for mines to be cleared in the waterway leading to the harbor.
Meanwhile, Iraq's Information Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf has accused British forces of burning warehouses filled with food in the embattled city of Basra. The Iraqi official says about 75-thousand tons of food were destroyed. There is no independent vertification of the Iraqi claim.