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Iraq Hosts First Oil Conference Since War

Iraq opened its first international oil conference since the Persian Gulf War on Saturday with an appeal for the lifting of U.N. sanctions that have crippled its economy.

The meeting, which has drawn more than 120 oil industry experts from 23 countries, is designed in part to signal that Iraq is ready to resume its place as a major petroleum producer.

But it also is a forum for Baghdad to express its anger over the U.N. embargo, imposed after Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The sanctions ban the export of oil, the nation’s economic mainstay, making it difficult for Iraq to afford even basic imports. Prices have skyrocketed, putting meat, new clothes and medicine out of reach of most Iraqis.

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