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'sanctions not to blame for deaths'

Anyone writing to the papers about the UNICEF report should try to preempt
what the other side are saying in response to it. Patrick Coulson,
Institute for Near East Affairs (Washington) told BBC radio yesterday 1)
that sanctions had no effect on child mortality, as the north of Iraq (not
controlled by Saddam)  had seen a FALL in death rates, 2) that Saddam had
stockpiled half the western medical aid in warehouses, and 3) that UNICEF
was only hearing Saddam's side of the story. When asked if sanctions had
any role to play in child health, he airily said 'No, not at all.'

Geoff Hoon (UK government minister) also told radio 4 that additional aid
for Iraq could be made available tomorrow if only only Saddam complied
with inspections. Leaving aside whether this is true or not, it still
explicitly links aid to inspections.

My customary plea about letters to the press, ministers or anyone else -
keep 'em SHORT. Editors, and more importantly readers, have the attention
span of a goldfish.

Jeff Vernon

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