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DEAL WILL HELP IRAQ BOOST FOOD RATIONS

Iraq said on Wednesday its oil-for-food deal agreed last week with the United Nations would help it boost food rations sold at giveaway prices.

"Foodstuff items distributed to every citizen within the monthly rationing system will increase considerably," Iraq's Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh said in remarks published in Wednesday's official newspapers.Under the U.N. deal, Iraq is allowed to sell $2 billion worth of oil every six months to buy food and medicine for its population suffering from crippling U.N. trade sanctions imposed on Iraq after its troops invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Each Iraqi is entitled to 2.75 pounds of rice, 15.4 pounds of flour, 1.1 pound of sugar, 1.6 pound of cooking oil and 100 grams of tea every month.