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Following is another interview in which the frustration of the UN's humanitarian workers is readily apparent. Source link: http://infoseek.go.com/Content?arn=a0923LBY243reulb-19990722&qt=%2BReuters+% 2BIraq&sv=IS&lk=noframes&col=NX&kt=A&ak=news1486 INTERVIEW-UN sees British concern on Iraq embargo 06:50 a.m. Jul 22, 1999 Eastern By Dominic Evans LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) - The United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq said after talks in London he believed Britain was looking for ways to ease the suffering of ordinary Iraqis after nine years of sanctions. ``I have a feeling that here in London at the political level there is a sincere effort to come up with something to reduce suffering as a result of sanctions,'' Hans von Sponeck said. Von Sponeck, speaking after briefing a parliamentary committee on the hardships facing Iraq's population, said that despite greater revenues from its U.N.-monitored oil-for-food accord, Iraq was still suffering a ``human tragedy.'' ``I confirmed what British officials are already aware of. The humanitarian situation simply continues to become more serious,'' he told Reuters in an interview late on Wednesday. Almost nine years after sanctions were slapped on Iraq for its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Britain and the Netherlands have drafted proposals to suspend the embargo on Baghdad's exports if it complies with key disarmament demands. Russia, China and France say the proposals do not go far enough or fast enough towards lifting the whole sanctions regime, including imports. The United States is unlikely to support any draft which makes concessions to those demands. Von Sponeck said that until the political deadlock was broken, Iraqis would continue to bear the cost. ``If nothing happens then political dialogue is taking place on the back of the Iraqi people,'' he said. Iraq blames the sanctions for killing over a million people and says limited imports allowed by the oil-for-food accord have made little impact. Humanitarian workers in Iraq say they cannot confirm those numbers but say the overall picture remains bleak. Von Sponeck said a detailed U.N. survey of child deaths in Iraq, due to be released next week, would show ``an increasing trend in the mortality rate of children under five.'' ``Every day that passes intensifies shortages, deprivation,'' he said, robbing a generation of young Iraqis of education and destroying its middle classes through ``emigration, deprivation or sheer intellectual impoverishment.'' ``They have decrepit housing, obsolete discarded hardware, empty schools, libraries that aren't replenished,'' he said. ``The cyberspace generation has not been born yet in Iraq.'' A summer drought and an outbreak of foot and mouth disease worsened the situation. Von Sponeck said United Nations officials in Baghdad were working to ``depoliticise'' food and medical deliveries in Iraq with more transparent monitoring of supplies. Baghdad regularly trades charges with Washington and London over responsibility for delays in buying and delivering goods. He said U.N. monitoring revealed a ``not very satisfactory picture'' of distribution in Iraq but attempts by some Western diplomats to pin all the blame on Baghdad were unjustified. ``We have no evidence there is a conscious withholding of medicines ordered by the government,'' von Sponeck said, adding that close monitoring in Iraq should allow a cut in the lengthy bureaucracy which regulates and delays Baghdad's purchases. Asked if Iraq, which insists it wants a complete lifting of the sanctions rather than incremental easing, would accept the British/Dutch proposal if it won U.N. Security Council approval, von Sponeck said Baghdad would stick by its tough line in public. ``At this stage that remains their position,'' he said. ``But once there is a more definite position from the outside world maybe pragmatism will lead them to go along with what at this point is unacceptable,'' he said. Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***