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Hi all, I've just written up a press release about our meeting with Anne Campbell. If you were present at the meeting please comment on its accuracy; if you were not please comment on its fairness, etc. I will send this out, revised, tomorrow to local media. Thanks, Colin Rowat King's College Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 1 May, 1998 Anne Campbell meets with Iraq sanctions campaigners Cambridge MP Anne Campbell met Friday afternoon with members of Cambridge University’s Campaign Against the Sanctions on Iraq. The group seeks the lifting of the UN-imposed sanctions on Iraq on humanitarian grounds. In presenting their concerns to Campbell the students cited the recent UNICEF estimate of an extra 1.2 million child deaths in Iraq due to the increase in child mortality since the onset of the sanctions in 1990; UNICEF estimates that a third of Iraqi children are malnourished. As Iraq imported some three quarters of its food and most of its medical supplies prior to the sanctions UNICEF and other UN humanitarian agencies place the blame for this deterioration in health on the sanctions. Campbell, presenting the position of the UK government, rejected this conclusion. She claimed instead that the deaths are the fault of Saddam Hussein who prefers to keep his population malnourished. Reading from a Foreign Office letter, Campbell mentioned Hussein’s palace building schemes as evidence. One student questioned the logic of this statement: “building supplies that are not imported do not reduce Iraq’s capacity to import food under the food for oil agreements. If inappropriate supplies are being imported then the UN Sanctions Committee is negligent”, he explained. Campbell denied that the “palace building” explanation was being used as a soundbite but promised to seek clarification from the Foreign Office. Currently, all Iraqi imports must be approved by the Sanctions Committee. Britain has supported increases in the allowance under food for oil programmes which, to date, are not felt to have brought much relief to the Iraqi people. While supporters of the food for oil deals lay the responsibility for this on the Iraqi regime, others question the adequacy of the food for oil programme. They note that the lack of transparency and the inefficiency of the Sanctions Committee have both been recognised in UN Security Council resolutions. Further, critics claim that the scale of programme has been inadequate given the needs of the country. The 1991 bombing of Iraq dropped as much tonnage as was dropped during the second world war, destroying its infrastructure. Of the Security Council members Britain and the United States oppose further easing of the sanctions. The aim of the sanctions, Campbell claimed, was not to cause malnutrition but to bring political pressure to bear on the regime and, “to get rid of this appalling dictator and to bring some prosperity to the region”. She then stated that it was in Hussein’s interests to have the sanctions lifted and that those opposed to them may therefore be advancing his interests. The Security Council resolutions governing the sanctions link their end to assurances about Iraq’s military capacity and stance. These concerns, one student noted, could be addressed by a comprehensive weapons ban alone, rather than the current sanctions regime with its consequent human costs. In defence of the sanctions Campbell cited the South African example. The students observed that a large difference between the South African and the Iraqi cases is that sanctions against the former had the support of the African National Congress party, the largest voice of the majority black population. While most Iraqis understand that their leader is ruthless and dangerous very few support the sanctions that have killed one in twenty of them. - 30 - for further information please contact Colin Rowat (0468) 056 984, email@example.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html