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Re: internal human rights situation as condition for lifting sanctions?

Dear Andrew and all,

I'm sorry to respond to this so late. The question of pre-conditions for
lifting sanctions is crucial, clearly. I have a somewhat different reading
of the resolution, which I hope someone can improve upon.

Milan Rai

-----Original Message-----
From: andrew loucks <>
To: <>
Date: 08 May 1999 22:41
Subject: Re: internal human rights situation as condition for lifting

>The conditions for lifting sanctions are fairly clearly outlined in
>paragraph 22 of Security Council resolution 687 of April 1991:
>"22.  [the Security Council] Decides that upon the approval by the Security
>Council of the programme called for in paragraph 19 above and upon Council
>agreement that Iraq has completed all actions contemplated in paragraphs 8,
>9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 above, the prohibitions against the import of
>commodities and products originating in Iraq and the prohibitions against
>financial transactions related thereto contained in resolution 661 (1990)
>shall have no further force or effect;"
>The "programme" referred to is for the administration of compensation: the
>initial and not-so-humanitarian impetus for oil-for-food.  Paragraphs 8
>through 13 simply outline the disarmament requirements.  Though this
>paragraph does not explicitly mention the prohibition of exporting to Iraq,
>I assume this is meant to be included in "transactions".  Why would they
>only lift half of the sanctions?

It would make sense for the sanctions on Iraqi imports to be lifted at the
same time as those on Iraqi exports, but that is not what the resolution
states. The term 'financial transactions' refers only to the proceeds of
Iraqi exports and their handling, not to the import of any goods/services.

Para. 20 reaffirms the 'prohibitions against the sale or supply to Iraq of
commodities or products other than medicine and health supplies, and
prohibitions against financial transactions related thereto'

Para. 21 says that the Security Council will 'review the provisions of
paragraph 20 above every sixty days in light of the policies and practices
of the Government of Iraq, _including the implementation of all relevant
resolutions of the Security Council_, for the purpose of determining whether
to reduce or lift the prohibitions referred to therein'. (Emphasis added)

Putting the two paragraphs together, it appears that the resolution could
demand Iraqi compliance with ALL the UN resolutions plus changes in
whichever of its 'policies and practices' are deemed relevant by the
Security Council (ie Britain and the US) before lifting the import

(Note: This is very pedantic, but actually para. 20 is written in a very
strange way, so that it 'Decides' that the prohibitions on imports 'shall
not apply to foodstuffs' etc. So when para. 21 says that the SC will 'review
the provisions of paragraph 20 above every sixty days', this means strictly
speaking that the SC ought to be considering every sixty days whether to
continue to exempt foodstuffs and other essential humanitarian goods from
the sanctions. It is the tail phrase 'for the purpose of determining whether
to reduce or lift the prohibitions referred to therein' which gets the
resolution back on track and making some sense.)

>Anyway, what I read from this paragraph -
>and what I think anyone who can read English should be able to read - is
>that when Iraq fulfills disarmament obligations (which are murky and not
>very clearly defined) the sanctions are lifted.  Albright and others have
>tried, on occasion, to throw in Kuwaiti POW's (not unlike what the US did
>for years with Vietnam) and other stuff into the mix, but the fact of the
>matter is pretty obvious from 687.  Iraq disarms or is disarmed and
>continues to pay its (somewhat politically constructed) debts under a UN
>administrated plan, then the sanctions are lifted.

Again a pedantic point. Iraqi payment of compensation is _not_ a
precondition for lifting sanctions. What is a precondition is the 'approval
by the Council of the _programme_' of setting up the Compensation Fund as
set out in para. 19. Para. 19 does not say anywhere in it that Iraq actually
_pays_ any money, it just sets out the technical procedures involved in
setting up the administration.

The missing Kuwaitis issue is mentioned in 687, but is not identified as a
condition of lifting the oil embargo/export sanctions. It is probable that
the issue could be included under the vague heading 'policies and practices'
of the Iraqi Government.

>Andrew Loucks
>The Global Movement to End the War
>against Iraq -
>Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Hope someone can spot the flaws in this unpalatable analysis.

Best wishes

Milan Rai
voices in the wilderness uk
12 Trinity Road, London N2 8JJ
phone/fax: 0181 444 1605

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