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Re: What the French want



> This is what I could find out about the French proposals (from
> Associated Press):

Thanks.

> 
> Essence of French proposal for lifting sanctions:
> 
> *     end to embargo on oil sales
> *     replacement of weapons inspections  la Unscom with a less
> intrusive system of arms controls
> *     the French also want to start discussions, break the deadlock,
> and of course give themselves and Russia freedom to take up contracts to
> help Iraq upgrade oil industry (lots of lovely oil dollars in it for
> someone) since at present Iraq is only able to sell $3billion/six months

Let's not forget the Iraqi people need that oil money to import spare parts 
for their ambulances, garbage trucks, hospitals, basic infrastructure, 
including crucially clean water supplies and sewage pipes and treatment. 
(The UNICEF report - see earlier email - says that 300,000 people were 
deprived of clean water by latest strikes. How many deaths will this 
lead to?). In fact this infrastructure 
could be even more important than medical supplies - I've been reading 
recently about how most of the reduction in mortality rates in Britain 
since 1800 has been due to better conditions and sanitation, not medical 
care. According to New Scientist, 23 May 92, "that much is undisputed".
Probably the same applies to Iraq today - cancer treatments may make the 
headlines, but greater access to food, rebuilding infrastructure (and 
probably education about Depleted Uranium) would all have a far bigger 
impact.

I'm not, of course, saying medical supplies are unimportant - on the 
contrary, the lack of anaesthetics in particular has led to the unpardonable 
suffering of thousands of people, including young children.

> *     proposes "economic and financial monitoring measures" so that
> the United Nations is notified of each oil contract by buyers and Iraq.
> The United Nations could stop military-related items or those which have
> dual usage

like pencils? I've heard they were banned because graphite in them could 
have a "dual use". Even if that's not true, there are dozens of other 
(mostly ridiculous) examples.

> but could not restrict other civilian goods and services

Depending on interpretation, this could have an enormous positive effect 
or only an enormous PR effect. I suspect the latter, but hope for the former.

> *     US rejected major points (surprise surprise)
> *     BUT Al Gore said "The United States is looking at ways to
> improve the effectiveness of humanitarian programs in Iraq, including
> lifting the current ceiling of funds which can be used to purchase food
> and medicine"

See other email on British proposals - this is at least partly a PR 
exercise. We need to keep exposing the lie that "food and medicine are 
not banned under the sanctions" - the truth is, the statement is 
technically true, but commonsensically false in practice. We also need to 
emphasise infrastructure (but don't just say "infrastructure" because it 
sounds relatively unimportant - use examples like ambulances and the fact 
that disease runs riot because of sewage in the streets etc.) 

Oil for food doesn't cover infrastructure - and these proposals don't 
mention it either!

--
Robin

P.S. I have built up a large collection of web-links on the sanctions and 
related issues at
 come.to/sanctions

It is very easy to submit a new page or site - just click on add URL at 
the top and enter the address. If you have the time, you could also apply 
to co-edit with me - it forms part of a web directory which will be used 
by thousands or millions of people.
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