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· UN Security Council extends oil-for-food program (Arabic News) · U.N. OKs Some Assistance to Iraqis (Associated Press) · Iraq Says Not Yet Told Of Oil Deal Renewal (Fox News/Reuters) · US Jets Attack Iraqi Defense Sites: 2 civilians injured (Associated Press) · Turk border patrols kill nine Iraqi and Iranian migrants (Reuters) · Rubin: US invited Iraqi opposition (Arabic News) · Iraq prepares to deter attempts to topple Saddam Hussein (Arabic News) · U.N.: Iraq Stockpiles Medicines (Associated Press) [Harriet's note: The first two articles are different accounts of the same thing - the most recent extension of the Oil For Food Programme - with the AP taking the stance that OFF represents "assistance" - i.e., aid - rather than legitimate sales. Note the Deputy US Ambassador's (Peter Burleigh's) potentially sinister statement that: 'Washington was willing to expand the program ``in response to humanitarian needs,'' as long as the proceeds from oil sales don't migrate into the coffers of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.'] ******************** UN Security Council extends oil-for-food program Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/22/99 The United Nations Security Council has extended the current phase of the oil-for-food program with Iraq for 180 days, during which Iraq will be able to sell up to $5.26 billion total for the current phase of petroleum and petroleum products. Up to $300 million of the total can be used to purchase parts and equipment to be used in producing oil to help Iraq meet its quota. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will submit by June 30 a list of the parts and equipment Iraq needs to reach its production allotment. The Security Council will review the implementation of the resolution, which takes effect on May 25, 90 days after the extension begins to assess Iraq's distribution of humanitarian supplies. Annan will submit a report at that time "on whether Iraq has ensured the equitable distribution of medicine, health supplies, foodstuffs, and materials and supplies for essential civilian needs" and on whether the amount allotted by the Security Council is sufficient to meet Iraqi humanitarian needs. According to a report submitted by Annan, there is a three-month delay between submitting requests for medicines and medical equipment to a warehouse in Kimadia where the supplies are stored and the fulfillment of the requests. "However, as the amount of drugs, supplies and equipment remaining in warehouses has risen to almost $300 million, concern about the efficiency of distribution has increased," the report said. The report noted several reasons for the delays, including a "the decline in professional competence and motivation," as well as problems with technical capability of the staff, poor inventory management, and the erratic arrival of goods. Security Council representative Andrei Granovsky of Russia criticized the current humanitarian program as being unable to guarantee the survival of the Iraqi population. He also condemned the US and British attacks against Iraq in the no-fly zone as illegal, adding that they had caused the death of numerous Iraqi civilians. He said the sanctions must be lifted to solve the humanitarian problems in Iraq and characterized the lifting of the sanctions as a very important matter for the Security Council. US representative Peter Burleigh said that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein bears the primary responsibility for the humanitarian problems in Iraq. He called on Iraq to cooperate in implementation of the program. Chinese representative Qin Huasun blamed the US and UK air strikes in the no-fly zones for worsening the humanitarian situation in Iraq, calling for an immediate halt to military operations against Iraq. ******************** U.N. OKs Some Assistance to Iraqis By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer, Friday, May 21, 1999; 7:27 p.m. EDT UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council agreed Friday to extend for six months a humanitarian program financed by oil exports to help ordinary Iraqis cope with economic sanctions. The vote to continue the oil-for-food program was unanimous, but the 15 council members remain deeply divided on how to improve humanitarian conditions and restart U.N. arms inspections that were halted by U.S. and British airstrikes in mid-December. Council members generally support Secretary-General Kofi Annan's recent report, which concluded that oil-for-food has made ``a substantial difference'' but could not -- and was never meant to -- meet all the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. The council launched the program in 1996 to provide food, medicine and other humanitarian aid for Iraqis suffering under sanctions imposed after Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The program allows Iraq to export $5.26 billion in oil over six months to buy humanitarian supplies, as well as compensate Gulf War victims and fund U.N. operations in Iraq. The resolution adopted Friday renews the oil-for-food program under the same terms, but promises to review, and possibly raise, the $5.26 billion ceiling on oil exports should Iraq reach that target. Russia, China and France stressed that while oil-for-food eased some of the suffering of the Iraqi people, only the lifting of sanctions could solve the country's humanitarian crisis. ``The steps being taken within the framework of this program hardly guarantee the physical survival of the population,'' Russian envoy Andrey Granovsky said. Russia has drafted a resolution, backed by China and France, that would suspend economic sanctions against Iraq once a system to monitor Baghdad's weapons program is in place. But the United States and Britain remain vehemently opposed to any suspension or lifting of sanctions. They argue that Iraq has failed to account for its weapons of mass destruction, and say ending sanctions would only reward Baghdad for bad behavior. The Security Council cannot lift sanctions until U.N. arms inspectors verify the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Iraq insists its banned weapons have been destroyed, and is demanding that sanctions be lifted. The council debate on a long-term Iraqi policy is expected to last weeks. U.S. deputy ambassador Peter Burleigh said Washington was willing to expand the program ``in response to humanitarian needs,'' as long as the proceeds from oil sales don't migrate into the coffers of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Iraq is expected to sell a record $3.9 billion worth of oil in the current six-month phase, about $900 million over the previous high. A strong recovery in oil prices coupled with Iraq's ability to export close to 2 million barrels a day enabled Baghdad to set the revenue record. ******************** Iraq Says Not Yet Told Of Oil Deal Renewal Fox News, 9.31 a.m. ET (1331 GMT) May 22, 1999 BAGHDAD, Iraq - A senior Iraqi government oil official said Saturday Iraq had not been informed officially of the extension of an "oil-for-food'' deal with the United Nations for another six months. "We will continue (oil exports) under the fifth phase of the oil deal and we have not received anything official to continue after that,'' Faleh al-Khayat, director general of planning and studies at the Oil Ministry, told reporters. The current phase of the agreement expires Monday. The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to extend the existing humanitarian program for another six months. The council's resolution allows Iraq to sell $5.26 billion worth of oil every six months to purchase food, medicine and other necessities for its people, suffering under U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait in August 1990. But extension of the plan would only take effect if Iraq agreed to continue the oil sales, providing revenues that go into a U.N. account to pay for humanitarian goods. Asked whether Iraq would renew the deal for another six months, Khayat said: "We have heard of that (resolution) as you might do, but we have not been informed officially.'' There has been no official Iraqi reaction to the Security Council decision. A leading official in the ruling Baath party said Saturday Iraq would not accept any U.N. resolution that did not call for an end to trade sanctions. "Iraq will not accept anything less than lifting the embargo, (having) met all its commitments to U.N. Security Council resolutions,'' said Abdul-Ghani Abdul-Ghafur, a senior member of the ruling Baath party. "Attempts by Washington and London to make the oil-for-food and medicine deal a status quo are part of a hidden agenda against Iraq and its people,'' the official Iraqi News Agency quoted Abdul-Ghafur as saying, but it was not clear if his comments were in response to Friday's Security Council resolution. Iraqi officials and media have been very critical of the oil-for-food deal, saying it has failed to offset suffering of the people and local newspapers have called on the government not to renew the agreement. ******************** US Jets Attack Iraqi Defense Sites Sunday, May 23, 1999; 2:13 p.m. EDT ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- U.S. warplanes struck at Iraqi military sites on Sunday, responding to artillery fire during a routine patrol of the no-fly zone in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said. Air Force F-15Es bombed the Iraqi defense systems west of the Iraqi city of Mosul, 250 miles north of Baghdad, said a statement from the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey. Baghdad claimed that two civilians were injured in the attack, the official Iraqi News Agency reported. It did not say where the two were injured. The U.S. military said the jets left the scene safely. U.S. and British warplanes are taking part in Operation Northern Watch that enforces a no-fly zone above the 36th parallel in Iraq to protect Iraqi Kurds. A similar no-fly zone in southern Iraq has been set up to protect Shiite minorities. Iraq has been challenging the enforcement of the no-fly zones, which were set up following the 1991 Gulf War, since mid-December, triggering retaliatory actions by U.S. and British jets. Iraq has claimed several casualties in the attacks and the U.S. has accused Baghdad of installing air defense systems in civilian areas. ******************** WIRE:May 22, 10:21 a.m. ET Turk border patrols kill nine Iraqis, Iranians ANKARA, May 22 (Reuters) - Turkish security patrols have killed nine Iraqis and Iranians trying illegally to cross the country's eastern border with Iran, state-run Anatolian news agency said on Saturday. The agency said border troops opened fire on the group after they ignored warnings to stop. It did not say when the incident took place, nor how many of the migrants were Iraqis or Iranians. Another 36 people were arrested in the same incident which occured in the district of Baskale in the province of Van. Turkey has become a springboard for those trying to enter Europe from poorer countries to the east. Iran protested to Turkey over the reported killings of seven Iranians in the border region earlier this month. Turkey denied the killings. The rugged mountainous area is the scene of frequent clashes between Turkish troops and Kurdish guerrillas who Ankara says slip across the border to launch raids in their fight for self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast. ******************** Rubin: US invited Iraqi opposition Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/22/99 US State Department Spokesman James Rubin said yesterday that a delegation of the Iraqi National Congress interim leadership has been invited to visit the United States to "exchange views on how to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people by promoting the transition to a democratic and pluralistic Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbors." He said the interim leadership committee is made up of leaders of seven opposition groups belonging to the Iraqi National Congress and that there will be about a dozen participants in the delegation that is to visit Washington. "Obviously, some of these activities are being supported by funds appropriated for the Iraqi opposition; others are being supported by the opposition leaders themselves," Rubin said. He added, "My understanding is that the Secretary [US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright] intends to meet with them, but we're still working on the scheduling for such a visit." Rubin stated, replying to reporters' questions, that US money likely helped pay for the meeting of the Iraqi National Congress interim leadership committee which concluded yesterday in London, saying, "Probably some funds are made available for precisely the idea of getting as much unity as possible, and I'd be surprised if this process wasn't funded in significant ways." ******************** Iraq prepares to deter attempts to topple Saddam Hussein Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/21/99 Iraqi diplomatic sources in Amman have addressed hidden criticism to Jordan and other Arab states due to their stances which were considered by Iraq to be in line with the US policy which aims at toppling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime. The Iraqi sources said that moves in the region "try to adapt with a sure strike against Iraq." Meanwhile, Iraqi parliamentary sources said that the Iraqi National Assembly (parliament ) will discuss next week the role played by the neighboring countries in lifting the sanctions and evaluation of these countries' policies towards Iraq. In this regard the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Sadoun Hammadi, sent a message to the general secretariat of the Arab Parliamentarians Federation in which he condemned the stances adopted by Arab parliaments which did not carry out their "obligations" in backing Iraq. In a step which was described as reflecting the concern of the Iraqi authorities over moves to topple Hussein's government, sources at the ruling Baath party said the party leadership studies a proposal to hold an early meeting for the "regional congress" (the highest party authority) due to be held by the end of July. The Iraqi sources noted that other views in Iraq are for delaying the conference until settling the nearby conflict with the US. The " regional congress" is expected when convened to nominate Qusai, Saddam Hussein's second son, as the vice president of the state's council, which will be set up instead of the revolution's leadership council, a matter which will enabe Qusai to be the second man in Iraq. Furthermore, Iraqi diplomatic sources in Amman disclosed the redeployment of the Iraqi armed forces on the border with Iran. The Iraqi diplomatic sources said that these Iraqi measures come in retaliation for the measure taken by Tehran to carry out military exercises at a time when "US threats are being escalated to topple the Iraqi leadership this year and under a Turkish invasion of the Iraqi territories." The same sources added that the deployment of the Iraqi troops on the border come out of fear of "sneaking and penetration operations carried out by hireling and proxy forces," similar to those noted by a member of the regional leadership of the Iraqi Baath Party, Abdul Baqi al-Sadoun, who is responsible for the Baath Party organizations in Basra and al-Nasereyah in which he accused Iran of sponsoring acts of destruction carried out in Basra last March. The same Iraqi sources refused to consider Iraq's hosting of "the national council of the Iranian resistance" in one of Mujahidin Khalq on the Iranian border as an aggressive act against Iran. The sources said Iraq is not entitled of what have been carried out by the Iranian resistance as from outside its territories." It stressed that Iraq does not permit the Mujahidin Khalq to strike Iran from their positions inside the Iraqi territories. ******************** U.N.: Iraq Stockpiles Medicines By Leon Barkho, Associated Press Writer, Thursday, May 20, 1999; 11:51 a.m. EDT BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Some $300 million worth of medicines and health care equipment are languishing in Iraqi warehouses, partly because the staff lack the competence and motivation to distribute them, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan reported Thursday. Iraq's 22 million people, particularly its nearly 4 million children, badly need the drugs, Annan said in a report released in Baghdad, the capital. One out of every three children below the age of 5 is malnourished, owing to shortages caused by the sweeping U.N. trade sanctions imposed on Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Annan added that Iraqis suffering from chronic diseases lack 30 percent to 60 percent of their drug requirements. Iraq has frequently blamed the sanctions for the deaths of children, and has pointed the finger at the United States and Britain as the strongest opponents of any easing of the embargo. Annan said the medicines and equipment in Iraqi warehouses amount to more than half of the value of the medical supplies that have arrived in Iraq since the start of an oil-for-food program in 1996. The program allows Baghdad to sell limited quantities of oil on condition that the proceeds are used to buy food, medicine and humanitarian goods for its people. ``The reasons for distribution bottlenecks are multiple and complex,'' Annan said. While his report stops short of blaming the government of President Saddam Hussein, Annan says a key reason for the stockpile is a ``decline in professional competence and motivation'' among Iraq's health personnel. He suggested the United Nations set up a program of ``human development and training for (Iraq's) health sector'' to accelerate the distribution. Further, the government body running the warehouses lacks proper handling equipment and transport to move the supplies, Annan said. The United Nations is conducting intensive talks with the government in a bid to find a solution to the distribution bottlenecks, the report said. Annan submitted the report to the U.N. Security Council earlier this week. The United States and Britain say that Iraq must prove it has destroyed its long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction before the U.N. embargo can be lifted. ******************** ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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