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Annan calls for increase in Iraq aid South News Jan 3 United Nations: Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed Iraq be allowed to to increase its oil sales from $2 billion to $5.2 billion over the next six months to avoid a humanitarian disaster. Annan said the so-called oil-for-food program, initiated a year ago, was inadequate ``to prevent further deterioration in humanitarian conditions.'' He will explain his recommendations at a press conference on Monday. Iraq has been under stringent sanctions since 1990. Since then living conditions have deteriorated markedly, with malnutrition widespread and young children dying because of lack of proper medical care. In an attempt to alleviate the impact of sanctions, council members initiated the oil-for-food program that began a year ago. It allows Iraq to sell $2 billion worth of oil over six months to buy emergency supplies and Annan now wants proposes to add $3.2 billion to that amount. His proposals must first be approved by the 15-member Security Council.The deal,ironically for Iraq, also pays for the work of UNSCOM. Iraq maintains the United States is using UNSCOM to prolong sanctions, which have been in force since 1990 and can not be lifted until the Special Commission certifies the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. "The inspectors are regarded as 'spooks' by genuine UN officials, not only by the Iraqis. But we can't say anything," said a Western aid worker who did not want to be named. Of the $2 billion in oil Iraq now sells every six months, it receives $1.32 billion for humanitarian supplies. The remaining $700 million is earmarked for reparations to 1991 Gulf War victims and for U.N. running costs in Iraq. The UN weapons inspectors are paid living expenses by the United Nations while receiving their "normal salaries" from the governments which nominated them to UNSCOM. They are UN personnel only in name only during the three-to-six month duration of their contracts before being rotated. Annan's $5.2 billion proposal adds $2.1 billion in actual humanitarian supplies to the current $1.32 billion, with the remainder going to the reparation fund and other costs. Some $1 billion of the expenditures are one-off costs to help make emergency repairs in schools, hospitals, water and sanitation systems, dams, agriculture and mine clearance. The secreatry-general, in the report, said Iraq was not amenable to discussing improvements in the current plan and instead wanted the embargo lifted entirely. He said that Baghdad maintained that any final decision on increasing supplies in various food and medical sectors would be up to the government and not the United Nations. Annan that the economic deterioration of the northern Kurdish-dominated provinces, where the United Nations had sole responsibility for the food distribution, was severe. He said he intended to return to the council with proposals for further funding in these regions. The oil-for-food program has been plagued with delays since its inception over a year ago, mainly because of its complex nature and layers of decision-making. But the United States in the first six months of the program was notorious in delaying or blocking contracts, including food supplies, U.N. documents show. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Do not respond to emails erroneously sent to the whole list.