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U.S. group brings $4 million of aid to Iraq

                      U.S. group brings $4 million of aid to Iraq

                      9 May 1998

                      BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Former U.S. Attorney
                      General Ramsey Clark arrived in Baghdad
                      Friday bringing $4 million worth of medical
                      aid to sanctions-hit Iraqis. 

                      He was accompanied by 100 U.S. peace
                      activists representing American
                      humanitarian and human rights

                      "We are here bringing nearly four million
                      dollars worth of medicines ... trying to save
                      children, the weak and the elderly," said Fred
                      Champagne of U.S Veterans for Peace. 

                      "We are here to defy the U.S. sanctions
                      against Iraq. We are in defiance of the
                      American policy against starving the people
                      of Iraq," he said. 

                      Clark said the visit was a reaction to last
                      month's U.N. Security Council resolution
                      prolonging the punitive sanctions imposed
                      on Iraq after its 1991 invasion of Kuwait. 

                      "The message we carry is that the American
                      people love the Iraqi people," Clark told
                      reporters shortly after arriving in Baghdad. "It
                      is painful to feel the ... suffering. This is a
                      place which people ought to come and help."

                      Clark has visited Iraq several times since the
                      Gulf War and was a strong opponent of U.S.
                      and allied air and missile attacks against

                      Humanitarian aid to Iraq has been gaining
                      momentum during the last few months. Some
                      18 planes have landed in Iraqi airports since
                      the beginning of this year bringing medicines
                      and food supplies to Iraqis after obtaining
                      the approval of a U.N. sanctions committee. 

                      Last month a cargo plane from the aid
                      organization AmeriCares landed in Baghdad
                      with 38 tonnes of medical supplies, the first
                      airlift of humanitarian aid from a U.S. relief
                      group since the Gulf War. 

                      An Iraqi Trade Ministry source said the
                      United States had put on hold several
                      contracts to buy humanitarian goods under
                      Iraq's "oil-for-food" deal with the United

                      "The American representative at the
                      (sanctions) committee suspended 12 food
                      and medicine contracts at the beginning of
                      this month," the source, quoted by state-run
                      newspapers, said. 

                      The source said the blocked materials
                      ranged from medicines bought from Syria
                      and Jordan to electrical spare parts and
                      utilities from Britain, Germany and Italy.

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