The Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) said it continued to race against the clock, together with six UN agencies and organizations, to identify priority items specified by the Council – food, medicines, health supplies, water and sanitation equipment and supplies – that can be extracted from the pipeline and shipped by 12 May as required in resolution 1472 (2003).The Oil-for-Food programme, which allowed Iraq to use part of its oil revenues to buy humanitarian supplies and on which 60 per cent of the population depend as its sole source for rations, was temporarily halted on 17 March after the withdrawal of all UN staff from Iraq on the eve of hostilities. The Security Council adopted a new resolution on 28 March giving Secretary-General Kofi Annan more authority to administer the operation for the next 45 days, including prioritizing deliveries.The OIP said most of the priority goods confirmed with 137 suppliers were in the food ($181.7 million), agriculture ($103.8 million) and health ($46.1 million) sectors. Most were already in transit at the onset of the war and would be routed to strategic locations in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait and Iran for transhipment to Iraq.
THE GOVERNMENT IS seeking advice from experts on how best to capitalise on Ireland’s natural resources.The Department for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has sought tenders for the provision of expert advice on how best to maximise the benefits of Ireland’s offshore oil and gas resources.The terms of reference for potential applicants note that Ireland’s indigenous oil and gas resources belong to the people of the country.“Ireland’s offshore whilst holding great promise is relatively underexplored with only four commercial gas finds to date,” Minister Rabbitte said. “In setting our fiscal terms we need to strike the necessary balance between attracting the high-risk exploration investment needed to prove that promise whilst maximising the return to the State and its citizens from our natural resources.”Experts hired following a procurement procedure will be asked to focus on what monetary gain can be achieved – and how that could be done.The government says it wants to be competitive in order to attract investment in exploration.“The Government’s strategy for the exploitation of the State’s natural oil and gas resources aims to maximise the level of exploration activity and increase the level of production activity, while ensuring a fair return to the people from these activities,” added junior minister Fergus O’Dowd.Ireland competes for mobile exploration investment in the same way it competes for other forms of foreign direct investment.Tenderers will be asked to examine the petroleum prospectivity of the Irish offshore and Ireland’s “relative attractiveness as a location for mobile international exploration investment”.Taoiseach: “This is the Haddington Road Agreement, it will not be renegotiated”Related: Just four commercial gas discoveries since the 70s but minister remains positiveMore: Rise in Bord Gáis Energy Index for second consecutive month blamed on Syria