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Two articles: Former UN Inspector :Iraq 's Been Disarmed "What's left in Iraq? Nothing but seeds which can be planted and cultivated." said Ritter, a former US Marine. http://www.arabia.com/content/news/3_99/iraq31.shtml --- DUBAI (AFP) -- Iraq has already been disarmed and no longer poses a threat to its neighbors, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter said in an interview. "Today, Iraq no long possesses arms of mass destruction," Ritter told the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat. "What's left in Iraq? Nothing but seeds which can be planted and cultivated. They have scientists and the know-how which they could decide to reactivate if they are given the freedom," said Ritter, a former US Marine. His latest comments, after a series of press interviews since resigning in August from UN arms inspection teams, contrasted with the reasons which Ritter gave for his resignation. At the time, he accused Washington of blocking intrusive inspections of Iraqi sites. Ritter went on to warn in September that Baghdad still possessed most of the elements needed to build three nuclear bombs, although it lacked the enriched uranium. But in Al-Hayat, he said the nuclear program had been "destroyed and dismantled," the same as Iraq's long-range missiles. UN panel calls for new monitoring system A UN panel, in a new report to the Security Council, has called for a revamped and "more intrusive" system of long-term monitoring that would include inspections. Outstanding issues remain, notably concerning Iraq's biological and chemical programs, according to the panel. Iraq vowed after US and British air strikes in December -- launched to punish Baghdad for its reported failure to cooperate fully with UN inspectors -- that the inspectors would never be allowed to return. Humanitarian panel proposes easing sanctions A UN panel that studied the humanitarian situation in Iraq recommended Tuesday a loosening of economic sanctions to ease the desperate plight of the Iraqi people. In a report handed to the UN Security Council by panel chairman Cellos Amorim of Brazil, the four-member team stressed, however, that "a strict arms embargo and control over dual use items would remain in place." Dual use items are civilian items that can also be used for military purposes. The panel notably recommended that the Security Council authorize bilateral production-sharing agreements between the Iraqi government and foreign oil companies to provide oil spare parts and equipment to Baghdad. The council could also authorize private investment flows into the Iraqi oil industry "and other secondary export industries unrelated to the military complex," such as fertilizer, sulfur, urea, dates and nuts, the report said. The panel's suggestions aim to provide more funds for an oil-for-food humanitarian program under which Iraq is allowed to export limited quantities of oil in return for badly-needed humanitarian supplies. However, the scheme is severely underfunded because of depressed oil prices. -------------- Iraq Needs Oil Investments Iraq slips from "affluence to massive poverty," says a UN report. http://www.arabia.com/content/business/3_99/iraqoil.31.shtml Iraq Needs Oil Investments UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Iraq, since the 1991 Gulf War, has slipped from "relative affluence to massive poverty" and should be allowed to receive foreign oil investments, a report released on Tuesday said. The report to the Security Council from a four-member panel of senior U.N. officials, says that even if stringent U.N. sanctions were lifted "it will take a long time before the infrastructure is repaired and the economy recovers." The panel said Iraq should be allowed to export as much oil as it can to finance needed goods under the U.N. "oil-for-food" program but it did not directly call for lifting stringent U.N. sanctions, imposed on Baghdad since 1990. Nevertheless, its proposals included an easing of some sanctions, such as allowing foreign oil companies and others to invest in such Iraqi exports as fertilizer, sulfur, urea, dates, nuts and agriculture in general. The report also said the oil firms could share with Iraq spare parts it needs to upgrade its dilapidated oil equipment. The United States and others have proposed lifting the ceiling on oil sales, now at $5.2526 billion every six months to finance humanitarian supplies under the oil-for-food program. But low oil prices have prevented Iraq from even reaching the current ceiling. Diplomats said the United States and Britain would probably object to investments from oil companies and other industries into Iraq's domestic economy, even if such ventures were supervised by the United Nations. While the panel said Iraq was responsible for some of the problems in distributing supplies, particularly medicine, it made clear that the U.N. oil-for-food program was inadequate, particularly during periods of falling oil prices. "The humanitarian situation in Iraq will continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained revival of the Iraqi economy, which in turn cannot be achieved through remedial humanitarian efforts," the report said. The humanitarian panel concluded that Iraq since 1990 has "experienced a shift from relative affluence to massive poverty." Infant mortality is the highest in the world, and chronic malnutrition affects every fourth child under 5. Only 41 percent of the population has regular access to clean water and 83 percent of all schools need substantial repairs. The U.N. Development Program calculates it would take $7 billion to rehabilitate the power sector to its 1990 capacity, the report said. Other recommendations included: -- Temporarily reducing the 30 percent Iraq has to pay from its oil revenues into a fund for Kuwaiti Gulf War victims, by asking governments and institutions to delay their claims. -- A release of some of Iraq's frozen assets into a U.N. escrow account for the purchase of urgently needed goods. -- The Security Council's sanctions committee should allow food and medical supplies, agricultural equipment and basic educational items to be imported by Iraq without notification. Other items should be approved within two business days -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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