Published December 22, 2008
NEW YORK – The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Monday to maintain U.N. protection for billions of dollars of Iraqi assets against seizure by governments, companies or individuals.
The U.N. mandate for the U.S.-led Multinational Force Iraq expires Dec. 31, and is being replaced by a new U.S.-Iraqi security pact which calls on American forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30 and the entire country by 2012.
The Security Council measure is aimed at preventing Iraq's financial assets, oil shipments and property from being seized by governments or companies with legal judgments dating back to the Saddam Hussein era.
Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said last week the resolution was very important for the country, which needs those funds to maintain its security and development.
The Iraqi government says that it intends to settle claims in a timely fashion through arbitration and government-to-government arrangements.
FOX News' Jonathan Wachtel and the Associated Press contributed to this report.