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The following report, "Iraq: Sanctions and the 'Oil for Food' Agreement", has just been published on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk). If people send properly sourced refutations or comments about any statements made in the report to the discussion list, I (or someone else) will collect them together and put out to the press a response to the report. (The name of the originator of each comment will *not* be included). The aim of this is to provide reporters with some alternative source of information than what the government chooses to publish. source: http://files.fco.gov.uk/info/briefs/1597.pdf (things in square brackets are my insertions - SW) [start of cover page:] Foreign & Commonwealth Office London, February 1999 FOCUS INTERNATIONAL IRAQ: SANCTIONS AND THE "OIL FOR FOOD" AGREEMENT [Summary on front cover:] Sanctions were imposed on Iraq in response to its illegal invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990. United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 661 of August 1990 is the principal Resolution which prohibits exports from Iraq and imports by Iraq. Food, medicine and other supplies for essential civilian needs are not covered by the import ban. Sanctions are still in place because Iraq has not yet fulfilled the obligations imposed on it by the UN. The UN "oil for food" programme was first implemented in 1996. Under the programme, Iraq is permitted to sell set amounts of oil to fund the purchase of food, medicines, other humanitarian goods and equipment, and spare parts to repair the civilian infrastructure. Since mid-1998 it has also been allowed to purchase equipment and spare parts for the rehabilitation of its oil industry. AN FCO NETWORK FEATURE [start of page 1:] IRAQ: SANCTIONS AND THE "OIL FOR FOOD" AGREEMENT SANCTIONS At the end of the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq accepted the terms of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 687 - the ceasefire Resolution. This Resolution, and others implementing it, addressed a number of issues, including Iraq’s programme of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and laid down obligations with which Iraq must comply: - to accept the destruction of its WMD under international supervision; - to submit full details of locations, amounts and types of weaponry; - to undertake not to use, develop, construct or acquire WMD in the future; and - to cooperate with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in carrying out these obligations. The circumstances in which the Security Council would lift the sanctions imposed on Iraq are also set down in SCR 687. This Resolution provides for the lifting of sanctions when Iraq has complied with its WMD obligations, and when its policies and practices, including implementation of all the relevant Resolutions, have been reviewed by the Security Council. Iraq’s obligations are to respect the inviolability of the international boundary agreed in Kuwait in 1963; - return all Kuwaiti property seized during its illegal invasion of Kuwait; - accept its liability to compensate those who suffered loss or injury as - a result of the invasion; - agree not to commit or support any act of international terrorism; and - repatriate all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals, or their remains, to their country of origin. [start of page 2:] Why sanctions are still in place For seven years, Iraq has persistently avoided complying with its obligations, thereby preventing the lifting of sanctions. The UN Security Council normally reviews the need for sanctions to continue every 60 days. But to date each review has concluded that Iraq has not yet met the conditions that would allow sanctions to be lifted or even relaxed. "OIL FOR FOOD" AND THE UN HUMANITARIAN PROGRAMME IN IRAQ The first offer of an "oil for food" programme Measures to protect the Iraqi people from the effects of sanctions and the policies of Saddam Hussein are enshrined in SCR 986, the so-called "oil for food" Resolution, and successor Resolutions. These evolved from earlier humanitarian proposals put forward in 1991 under SCRs 706 and 712. They were rejected by Iraq. Iraq finally accepts and implements "oil for food" It was not until April/May 1996 that Iraq agreed to the "oil for food" programme when it accepted SCR 986 (which had been adopted by the Security Council more than a year earlier in April 1995). The start of the programme was then delayed a further seven months until December 1996, while Iraq haggled over the terms of implementation. The proceeds from "oil for food" and how they are allocated Under SCR 986 Iraq was permitted to export up to $2,000 million worth of oil over a six month period. The programme has since been renewed for four further periods of six months under SCRs 1111, 1143, 1153 and 1210. Under SCR 1153, adopted in February 1998, the value of oil Iraq is permitted to export over a six month period was increased to $5,300 million. The proceeds from the sale of oil under "oil for food" are paid into a UN account. Under the terms of SCR 986, the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) is allocated 30 per cent, and 66 per cent goes to the UN humanitarian programme in Iraq, of which 53 per cent is allocated to Baghdad-controlled Iraq and 13 per cent to the three northern governorates. The remaining four per cent is allocated to the operating [start of page 3:] costs and administration of the "oil for food" programme, UNSCOM and the Iraq/Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), which supervises the border between Iraq and Kuwait. The UN humanitarian programme Under the humanitarian programme, Iraq is allowed to purchase and import foodstuffs, medicine and medical equipment and other goods for essential civilian needs. It is also allowed to import spare parts, equipment and materials for use in the water and sanitation, education, electricity, agricultural and de-mining sectors. SCR 1153 expanded the humanitarian programme to allow a certain amount of repair to the civilian infrastructure and some upgrading of Iraq’s oil infrastructure to enable it to pump the increased $5,300 million worth of oil as permitted under this Resolution. The distribution of humanitarian supplies Supplies provided under the humanitarian programme are strictly monitored by the UN. The international community insisted on such safeguards to ensure that this scheme would benefit the Iraqi people, not the Iraqi regime, which has misused Iraq’s scarce resources in the past. In the three northern governorates, the UN is entirely responsible for distribution. The "Distribution Plan" The humanitarian programme is structured around a "Distribution Plan" drawn up by the Government of Iraq, which details all the goods that Iraq wishes to import for each six month period of the programme. The UN Secretary General must approve the plan, and Iraq is not automatically entitled to import all the goods on the list. They must be approved by the Sanctions Committee (also known as the 661 Committee) on a case-by- case basis. This is to ensure that the export of all goods to Iraq is consistent with the terms of the UN Resolutions. Since the humanitarian programme was implemented, the Sanctions Committee has approved 96 per cent of all applications submitted for funding under the programme. How Iraq has hampered the humanitarian programme According to the most recent report by the UN Secretary General on the implementation of "oil for food", the programme is making a real difference to the humanitarian situation in Iraq. But the relief it could bring to the Iraqi people would be much greater if it were not for the refusal of the Government of Iraq to play an effective [start of page 4:] role in maximising the benefits from the programme. Under the terms of an agreement with the UN, Iraq is responsible for awarding contracts, liaising with suppliers, and distributing goods in Iraq (except in the three northern governorates). The Government of Iraq refuses, despite constant encouragement from the UN, to make any efforts to - properly prioritise purchases for the humanitarian programme; - target the programme towards the most vulnerable; - ensure that suppliers supply goods on time; or - improve the distribution system for humanitarian goods inside Baghdad-controlled Iraq. Iraq has also consistently failed to provide information requested by UN agencies, which would help the programme to run more smoothly. Over the years, Saddam Hussein has shown that he has little interest in providing for the Iraqi people. Instead, his priorities are to keep his regime in power and to attempt to sustain his armed forces for continued internal repression and in preparation for new foreign adventures. The humanitarian programme was meant to supplement the Iraqi Government’s own provisions for the people. Instead the Government stopped supplying food rations as soon as "oil for food" was implemented and diverted the revenue it has saved to other purposes, notably military procurement and maintaining the privileges of the elite. It has also recently begun selling food to Syria and offering wheat and barley for sale in Jordan. In June 1998, Iraq also announced it would no longer accept donations of humanitarian aid from third countries. BRITAIN'S ROLE Britain and "oil for food" Since 1991, Britain has taken the lead in piloting the "oil for food" programme through the UN Security Council, initially by drafting Resolutions 706 and 712 which first proposed the programme, and then by drafting and co-sponsoring SCRs 986 (which set up the programme) and 1153 which more than doubled the value of it. Britain has been very active in trying to ensure that the programme works for the benefit of the Iraqi people. [start of page 5]: British aid to Iraq Also since 1991, Britain has provided over £100 million in humanitarian assistance for Iraq, either bilaterally or via the European Union. The bilateral aid programme, following a pledge of £7 million for the centre and south of Iraq, includes £2 million for the rehabilitation of water and sewerage in Babel, £1 million towards the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross and £540,000 towards the rehabilitation of hospitals. In addition some £3 million per year is spent in northern Iraq on de-mining and the needs of the vulnerable. February 1999 [end of document] [The symbol £ (however it displays on your screen) was a pound sign in the original] -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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