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Sevan: U.N. Delays Aid to Iraq

The following AP story contains a remarkably clear indictment U.S./British
obstruction to humanitarian aid for Iraq (pulled from the Minneapolis
StarTribune site,;
date=22-Jul-99&word=iraq ). 

Drew Hamre
Minneapolis, MN USA

Official: U.N. Delays Aid to Iraq
By EDITH M. LEDERER / Associated Press Writer / July 22, 1999

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United Nations is moving too slowly in approving
humanitarian supplies for Iraq, a top world body official said Thursday. 

Undersecretary-General Benon Sevan said delays in endorsing shipments of
food and medical supplies and spare parts for the oil industry are
undermining efforts to improve living conditions for Iraqis living under
economic sanctions. 

Iraq is on target to reach the U.N. Security Council' s oil export target of
$5.26 billion during the current six-month period, he told the council. 

Should Iraq reach the target, the Security Council will have to decide
whether to waive the ceiling, and how the additional revenue should be

Iraq has been barred from exporting oil since the Security Council imposed
an embargo following Iraq' s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The council launched
the so-called oil-for-food program in 1996 to try to care for Iraqis
suffering under the sanctions. 

Secretary-General Kofi Annan says food, nutrition, and the health sector
must remain a priority for revenue from oil sales. 

Sevan called on the Security Council to expedite the review of contracts for
food, medicine, spare oil parts and equipment to upgrade water treatment
facilities and the electricity supply. 

His remarks were targeted at Britain and the United States, which have
delayed scores of contracts for oil sector spare parts and other equipment
amid concerns over their possible diversion to the Iraqi military. 

Deputy U.S. Ambassador Peter Burleigh noted that last year experts estimated
that it would take $1.2 billion in spare parts and equipment for Iraq to
maintain exports of 3 million barrels of oil a day -- and the council has
already authorized $900 million. 

He questioned whether the production ceiling needed to be lifted. 

" My question would be, if more than $5.2 billion is now needed, what for?,
" Burleigh asked. " Is that humanitarian needs? Or are we getting into
suggestions about rebuilding the Iraqi economy, which is a very different
question for the Security Council? We don' t have a clear answer to that

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