As efforts to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure begin, numerous Middle East experts converged on the Washington office of Baker Botts L.L.P. to focus on the country’s reconstruction efforts and its economic future.
Baker Botts and The National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) hosted an international briefing on April 30, 2003. Steven Miles, head of Baker Botts’ Middle East practice and legal advisor to NUSACC, convened the proceedings. Evan Berlack, Of Counsel in the firm’s Washington office, discussed existing U.S. and United Nations Iraqi sanctions and the revised interim U.N. Security Council’s “Oil for Food Program.” Mr. Berlack described the mechanics of this interim process as well as the longer-range outlook for the program. He also reviewed some of the legislative and administrative steps that must be taken before U.S. and U.N. sanctions can be modified or terminated.
“The timing of the next steps regarding the sanctions is difficult to predict just now,” Mr. Berlack said.”The situation is generally still too fluid, but there is no doubt that U.S. policy is to move Iraq beyond a sanctions and Food for Oil regime in the near future.”
Other speakers were Molly Williamson, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of the Middle East and North Africa, U.S. Department of Commerce, and James Placke, Senior Associate, Cambridge Energy Research Associates. The event was moderated by Don DeMarino, who is Chairman of NUSACC and a Managing Director of Merchant Bridge & Co. Ltd., an investment bank with interests in Iraq.