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Anne Campbell press release



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,
cir20@cam.ac.uk


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