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The following speech was given yesterday by Derek Fatchett. Notice he makes no reference to the UN Humanitarian Panel's recent report which leaves no doubt as to the "consistent picture" emerging from the data. CASI will be formulating a response to this speech, drawing on the UN humanitarian report, in the next few days. In the mean time the Humanitarian Panel report is available at http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/panelrep.htm Also note the Office of the Iraq Programme have just released their 2-year programme review - see http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/ Humanitarian situtaion in Iraq _________________________________________________________________ Statement by the British Minister of State, Derek Fatchett, to the House of Commons. 5 May 1999 The export of food and medicines to Iraq has never been prohibited under sanctions. We are aware of claims that large numbers of children are dying every month. We have some concerns about the original sources of this information and the way the data has been interpreted. According to the most recent UN report on the implementation of 'oil for food', the UN humanitarian programme is making a real difference to the humanitarian situation in Iraq. It made clear that in the north, where the UN is responsible for distribution, there were very few if any shortages of essential drugs, and malnutrition was decreasing. In the centre and south, however, the Iraqi government refuses to engage constructively in the programme. It refuses to make efforts to prioritise properly what is purchased for the programme, to target it towards the most vulnerable, or to improve the poor distribution system. We are determined to do what we can to improve all aspects of the humanitarian situation. Together with the Netherlands, the UK has tabled a draft Security Council resolution which attempts to translate the work of the three UN Iraq panels into action. On the humanitarian side, our draft resolution brings together a whole range of measures including lifting the ceiling on Iraqi oil exports under 'oil for food', streamlining Sanctions Committee approval procedures, allowing local procurement and the payment of local costs, and commissioning expert advice on how to increase Iraq's oil production. These measures should make significant improvements to the humanitarian situation in Iraq. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html