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Ceiling set for Iraq's reparations

The U.N. secretary general announced Friday that Iraq would pay a maximum of 30 percent from its future oil revenues to victims of its invasion of Kuwait. Under a Security Council resolution adopted April 3, Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar was to recommend a ceiling Iraq might have to pay each time it sells a barrel of oil.

The actual payment figure, to be set by a 15-nation governing council, must be at or below this ceiling. But diplomats expect that this council will set a rate approximating the U.N. chief's recommendation.

In a statement, read by spokesman Francois Giuliani, the secretary general said: "With oil exports expected to reach about $21-billion by 1993, imports should absorb about 48 percent of export earnings and debt servicing approximately 22 percent.

"I suggest, therefore, that compensation to be paid by Iraq .

.

. should not exceed 30 percent of the annual value of the exports of petroleum and petroleum products from Iraq."

Theoretically, the Security Council could change Friday's figure and set another one. But this is considered highly unlikely as members deliberately preferred the secretary general arrive at an amount Iraq could afford.

The April 3 Resolution 687 setting terms for a permanent cease-fire said the ceiling should not be punitive but leave Iraq with enough money to pay its debts, feed its people and rebuild its devastated economy.

The task of settling damages will be daunting. They will include Kuwait's staggering losses, estimated at about $60-billion, Saudi Arabia's costs for cleaning up pollution in the Persian Gulf and the claims of thousands of workers who fled Kuwait after the invasion.

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