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Annan calls for increase in Iraq aid




 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. 

 

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