State Department Opposed to Reinstating Curbs on Iraq

The State Department said that it opposes a House amendment designed to reinstate curbs on Iraq because it would reduce “flexibility” of U.S. foreign policy.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee by a 17-11 vote last Thursday adopted an amendment to the foreign aid bill, introduced by Rep. Jonathan Bingha (D. NY), which would reinstate curbs lifted by the Reagan Administration on Iraq and South Africa.

The Administration announced earlier this year that Iraq had been removed from the list of countries supporting terrorism. Later it was revealed that the U.S. will allow Iraq to buy six L-100 transport planes on condition they will be used only for civilian purposes.

“Fixing controls by legislation reduces our flexibility to respond to changes in the international arena and to insure that export controls further our foreign policy objectives, as is required by the Export Administration Act itself,” State Department deputy spokesman Alan Romberg said, reading from a prepared statement. “Changing course at this time will also confuse foreign governments and call into question the credibility of the U.S. as a reliable supplier.”

Romberg stressed that the decisions on both Iraq and South Africa “were made after a lengthy review which is required annually.”

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