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It seems that the UN panel report on humanitarian affairs has already been delivered, in advance of the deadline of 15 April. A New York Times article on it can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/033199iraq-un.html otherwise, the text is as follows: New York Times March 31, 1999 U.N. Panel Seeks to Ease Suffering of Iraq's People By JUDITH MILLER UNITED NATIONS -- Concluding that Iraq has gone from "relative affluence to massive poverty" since economic sanctions were imposed against it after the 1991 Persian Gulf war, a new report to the Security Council recommends several steps aimed at alleviating its people's suffering. The report was prepared by one of three special panels convened in January to overcome the political divisions over Iraq on the Security Council and to help devise a common policy. It did not recommend that sanctions be lifted, but it did suggest easing them with specific modifications, some of which the United States said Tuesday it might oppose. The four-member panel of senior U.N. officials recommended, for instance, that oil companies be allowed to invest directly in Iraqi oil fields to increase Iraq's production, which is currently at 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. This would enable Iraq to free up funds for food that it now spends buying new oil equipment and repairing and replacing spare parts in its oil fields. While Iraq is now permitted, under an oil-for-food program, to sell $5.256-billion worth of oil every six months and to use some of the proceeds to alleviate suffering caused by the sanctions, it has been unable to produce that much, given depressed oil prices and the state of its fields. In addition, the report suggests that the Security Council authorize foreign companies to invest in Iraqi export industries, such as fertilizer, sulfur, and dates, that are unrelated to military production. In both cases, the report states, the added funds would be monitored by the United Nations to ensure that they are only used for buying essential goods. The report also recommends that the council consider reducing temporarily the amount of money that Iraq pays into a fund that compensates victims of its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which also comes from the oil proceeds. "It is the panel's view that under current conditions the humanitarian outlook will remain bleak and become more serious with time," the report states. "Infant mortality rates in Iraq today are among the highest in the world," it says. "Low infant birth weight affects at least 23 percent of all births, chronic malnutrition affects every fourth child under 5 years of age; only 41 percent of the population have regular access to clean water; 83 percent of all schools need substantial repairs." The report added that it would take $7 billion just to bring the country's power base to generate electricity to where it was before the gulf war. "The gravity of the humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people is indisputable and cannot be overstated," the report concludes. But it was disputed, only hours after Celso L.N. Amorim, Brazil's representative, who heads all three panels, gave it to the council. Western diplomats noted, for instance, that many of the report's statistics about the situation of the Iraqi people -- such as infant mortality rates -- relied heavily on data provided by Iraq, much of which had not been independently confirmed. While Washington is concerned about alleviating the suffering, said A. Peter Burleigh, the American representative, "the basic responsibility for their plight lies with Saddam Hussein," Iraq's leader. Sanctions were still in place "because Iraq has not disarmed itself of weapons of mass destruction" or honored other commitments to the United Nations. Several U.N. agencies contend that Iraq has not spent the money it has on food and medicine, he said. The United States wants to ensure that any additional funds for Iraq would help Iraqis, not their government, he said. While Burleigh was not willing to single out the proposals that troubled him, other American officials cited, for example, the report's recommendation that contributions to the Iraqi victims' compensation fund be temporarily reduced, or borrowed to enable Iraq to buy more goods for its people. Though the proposal was sponsored by Britain, America's closest ally on the council, one official said that the United States might hesitate to help one group of victims, the Iraqi people, at the expense of another -- people from many different countries who were working in Iraq when it invaded Kuwait. ---- Colin Rowat Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/casi King's College Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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