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Iraq's Medical Supplies

    Contrary to what the U.S. right wing New Republic magazine
propagates in the pages of the Globe and Mail, it's the U.S. that is
actually the
culprit in refusing to deliver urgently needed medical supplies and
other essential goods to the Iraqi population. And this genocidal policy
is not even contested by our own Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister,
Lloyd Axworthy.

     Earlier last week, Secretary-General Kofi Annan made a call that
"an all-out effort" be made to expedite the approval of humanitarian aid
contracts to Iraq, lending credence to Baghdad's accusations that the
States and Britain have hampered aid delivery to Iraq. More than 484
applications for humanitarian supplies worth  $496.4 million have been
placed on hold by the U.N. Iraq Sanctions Committee, the vast majority
by the United States and the rest by Britain.It should also be noted
that a report issued last February by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan,
has concluded that the U.N. relief program could not put an end to the
deteriorating humanitarian situation in Iraq.

    Sanctions imposed on the innocent people of Iraq are a weapon of
mass destruction and they should be lifted unconditionally. Canada
should advocate this position instead of making itself the apostle of
genocidal U.S. policies in the Middle East.

Marc Azar
Montreal Quebec


AP Worldstream
August 27, 1999; Friday 06:18 Eastern Time

HEADLINE: U.S. under fire for holding up aid contracts in Iraq


The United States is coming under increasing pressure to allow more
into Iraq, not only from Baghdad but from top U.N. officials and
Council members as well.

The head of the U.N.'s humanitarian program, France and other members of

the Security Council have expressed desperation with the United States
placing on hold hundreds of aid contracts worth millions of dollars.

The United States is wary Iraq will somehow use equipment that could be
purchased under the contracts to help rebuild its weapons programs.

Iraq appears to be taking advantage of the situation by stepping up its
campaign to have sanctions lifted and pointing to the conduct of the
United States in the U.N. Sanctions Committee, which reviews what food,
medicine and other aid can be purchased by Iraq through U.N.-supervised
oil sales.

Iraqi Ambassador Saeed Hasan on Thursday accused the United States and
main ally on the committee, Britain, of essentially paralyzing the U.N.
oil-for-food program by placing so many contracts on hold.

In the committee, the United States has placed holds on more than 450 of

the 500 contracts that haven't been approved. Britain has the rest.

''To leave the matter as it is means permitting the United States and
United Kingdom to destroy the last remaining modicum of humanitarian
content in the program,'' Hasan wrote to the Security Council.

The head of the U.N.'s humanitarian program, Benon Sevan, wasn't quite
blunt, but he did tell the Security Council on Thursday that the
''excessive'' number of contracts placed on hold were having serious
implications for the program.

Even Secretary-General Kofi Annan has gotten involved, calling this week

for an ''all out effort'' to expedite approval of contracts.

Iraq has been barred from selling its oil on the open market since the
Security Council imposed sanctions following its 1990 invasion of
Concerned that the Iraqi people were suffering the brunt of the
the council in 1996 began allowing Iraq to sell limited amounts of oil
provided the proceeds went to buy food, medicine and other
humanitarian goods.

Iraq is also allowed to buy spare parts and equipment for its oil
and machinery to improve its electrical and telecommunications sectors.

But the United States has kept a close eye on contracts for those items,

fearing Saddam Hussein's government will direct the equipment towards
weapons. No contract for telecommunications goods, for example, has been


The absence of U.N. inspectors in Iraq has only increased U.S. concerns,

said the deputy U.S. ambassador, Peter Burleigh.

But diplomats say other council members with the exception of Britain
the Netherlands, which chairs the sanctions committee _ are also
frustrated with the United States' position.

France, which is highly critical of the way the United States has
politicized the committee's work, has placed one hold on a contract
submitted by a U.S. company. But the move was widely seen as a ''revenge

hold,'' Western diplomats said.
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