The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Hans von Sponek goes public

Hamre, Drew wrote:
> The following appears in today's New York Times (see
> ---
> The New York Times
> September 20, 1999
> U.N. Official in Iraq Calls for Lifting of Sanctions
> "Please remove the humanitarian discussions from the rest in order to
> really end a silent human tragedy," Sponek said.
Moonirah - H.E.L.P. CO-ORDINATOR IN THE UK responding wrote:20/9/99
>"human tragedy" - my words exactly about the 605 hostages and PoWs still held in Iraq !
>Sponek, with respect is therefore asking that 605 incarcerated human beings belonging >to several 
>nations would again be abandoned to endure more torture in Iraqi prisons ?
>The 605 detainees still held in Iraq, though seen incarcerated there by a prominent
>British politician Emma Nicholson, were all put on hold whilst the U.N. and UNSCOM >dealt with 
>Weapons Inspections and other matters.  It is wrong to abandon them again !!
>To do as he says:"remove the humanitarian discussions from the rest" means to forget >the past 
>nine years of suffering by those 605 awaiting to return home and cast aside >the trauma of their 
>605 awaiting families residing in different countries, including >Wales, England and Scotland.
>This matter is not a new development but commenced with the 1991 Cease-fire Agreement
>and UN Resolution 687 (1991.  Then again last year (1998) UN Resolution 1154.
>Before, during and after the recent new Draft Resolution Proposal by Britain it was >again 
>verbally confirmed to me by telephone when speaking to the Middle East Department >of F.C.O. in 
>London.  One call in particular I remember well - after the sudden death
>of Derek Fatchett I was speaking by telephone to Jane Bailey who that day re-confirmed >"sanctions 
>cannot be lifted until this issue is resolved" plus, we spoke of the media >and press focussing on 
>non-compliance of weapons inspections, thus knowingly omitting
>facts about the human face of this tragedy, which is a key piece in all this - despite
>so many people not seeing it clearly yet !  Time perhaps will help them comprehend ??
>When I asked her whether their decisions or policies had been or were to being changed,
>Ms Bailey added, re-assuringly, that the request for release of the 605 detainees is >always 
>discussed at every meeting attended by F.C.O. representatives with the United >Nations, etc etc. 
>It was agreed by us both that the 605 Kuwaiti plus THIRD-NATIONAL >hostages and PoWs' humanitarian 
>issue is constantly excluded by news agencies, although >all media and press are totally aware 
>that UN Resolution 1154 signed 1998 and 687 >signed 1991 requires IRAQ to release the 605 
>detainees.  Hence you have the statements >again put out in current news reports confirming " 
>pressure on Iraq to meet its
>international obligations ", i.e. Resolutions 1154 and 687 !!
>Our organisation finally obtained TV, Radio and Press coverage for this humanitarian
>issue 1998 - 1999 locally in Wales, UK national, Arab News and British Forces Radio !
>I and many people connected with our organisation are British - no foreign origins,
>whilst other supportive and valued individuals come from a variety of countries.
>A Canadian and an American offered to HELP us when I met both ladies, out of the blue.
>I went to Kuwait on a campaign visit February this year, interviewed hostages'
>families and spoke to the sad children who dearly want their 'daddy' or 'mummy' to come
>home please. How those people suffered at the hands of some Iraqis whilst illegally >occupying 
>that Emirate !!  I saw evidential documentation, testimonials plus colour >photographs of children 
>and adults proving all the atrocities which I had heard about
>from a variety of sources before going and I felt that I should see the evidence for
>myself in order to speak of related matters, on travels, for our freedom campaign.
>The rapes of women and men, tortures with sulphuric acid and various instruments were.
>atrocities carried out on the Kuwaiti nation, which I hoped would not be repeated on
>any other human being - it was absolutely horrific.
>I met Kuwaiti Red Crescent personnel, medics and volunteers who since 1991 contribute
>lots of humanitarian aid to the innocents in Iraq. Kuwaitis work hard helping Iraqis
>and I had not known this fact until I went abroad looking for some truth myself.
> Across the globe, humanitarian campaigners and political activists do not
> have the full information for their viewpoint comments to News articles,
> postings, debates, discussions, news groups, forums, petitions, rallies and
> demonstrations - unless these true facts are included throughout considerations.
> I am not asking for sanctions against any country but I am quoting words
> of our, own F.C.O. in London which also confirmed the same by telephone.
> "sanctions cannot be lifted until this issue is resolved" - despite
> ongoing speculation, plus some media and press now knowingly excluding
> these facts also.  However, it gets them nowhere, the sanctions stand
> it seems until 605 detainees are released by Iraq and they return
> 'archives' which they stole from Kuwait.  At every meeting regarding
> "sanctions" between UN members and our own British Government
> representatives the humanitarian issue of 605 hostages plus PoWs held
> in Iraq belonging to several countries is discussed.
> Nobody can ignore this matter, otherwise no progress can be made -
> evidentially, the past nine years have proven this is true.
> Unless you consider this you miss the point..with respect - miss it yet again ?
> Moonirah
> UK
> BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Weighing in on renewed discussions among Western powers on
> Iraq, the senior United Nations official here called on Sunday for an
> immediate and unconditional lifting of many sanctions that would open the
> way to bigger flows of food, medicine and most other Iraqi imports.
> The official, Hans von Sponek, said a dispute over plans to revive
> international weapons inspections in Iraq now posed increasing risks to the
> social fabric in a country that has already borne more than nine years of
> United Nations sanctions.
> "Don't play the battle on the backs of the civilian population by letting
> them wait until the more complex issues are resolved," Sponek, a German who
> is the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said in an
> interview here.
> Sponek and his predecessor, Denis Halliday, have long tried to turn
> international attention toward the suffering of ordinary Iraqis, even as the
> United States and Britain have focused on the intransigence of the Iraqi
> Government, and blamed that Government for the travails of its citizens.
> But Sunday, on the eve of expected talks about Iraq at the United Nations,
> Sponek spoke in unusually impassioned terms about what he called the dangers
> of "using the human shield" in hopes of coaxing Iraqi concessions on arms
> issues.
> ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
> "Please remove the humanitarian discussions from the rest in order to
>really end a silent human tragedy," Sponek said.
> ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 
> The remarks seemed intended at least in part as a reply to a State
> Department report issued last week that held the Iraqi leader, Saddam
> Hussein, wholly accountable for the suffering of his people.
> The talks at the United Nations, among the five permanent members of the
> Security Council, are intended to seek agreement on a plan that would ease
> sanctions on Iraq in exchange for Baghdad's submission to a new system of
> weapons inspections to replace one that collapsed late last year.
> The collapse was caused by bitter disputes between Iraq and the United
> Nations over access to suspected weapons sites, and it was followed last
> December by four days of heavy punitive air strikes by the United States and
> Britain. Air strikes that the Iraqi Government says have killed nearly 200
> people have continued sporadically in the nearly 10 months since.
> In that time, members of the Security Council have been unable to agree even
> among themselves over how any new system should function and on what terms
> it should be introduced. And throughout, the Baghdad Government has turned a
> deaf ear to all proposals, insisting instead that the time has come to lift
> all of the United Nations sanctions, which have been in force since the
> Persian Gulf war of 1991.
> The stalemate has left a United Nations special monitoring commission known
> as Unscom unable to carry out its work. Reviled by the Iraqi Government for
> its intrusive methods, the commission is now paying the price -- in Baghdad,
> its headquarters within a United Nations compound remain padlocked and
> shuttered.
> France, Russia and China, among the five permanent Security Council members,
> have been sympathetic to Iraq's contention that its Government has
> essentially carried out its obligations to the weapons inspectors. Those
> Governments now appear to support a plan that would allow an immediate end
> to the sanctions in return for Iraq's agreement to a new and less intrusive
> system of weapons inspection.
> But the United States and Britain, which believe that Iraq may still be
> concealing an illicit weapons program, have argued for tougher terms.
> Together with the Netherlands, Britain has called for a plan that would
> allow only a moderate easing of the sanctions -- and only after a test
> period of several months that would be intended to gauge Iraq's cooperation
> with a new inspection regime.
> The United States is seen as likely to support such an approach, but so far
> it is still opposed by the other three Council members. Senior officials
> from the five countries, who met in London last week, have reported progress
> toward a deal, but they also have cautioned that an agreement might not be
> possible.
> Sponek, the United Nations representative here, has responsibility only for
> humanitarian issues, and not the arms inspections. But even among those who
> disagree about weapons inspection, he noted, there is a consensus that
> ordinary Iraqis have suffered under the embargo; all, he argued, should move
> now to halt what he called their "continuing deprivation."
> Pointing to increases in crime, including prostitution, and the
> deteriorating quality of education, Sponek said he believed that Iraq should
> be given broad latitude to import any goods that did not also have military
> use.
> --
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
> To be removed/added, email, NOT
> the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list
> *** Archived at ***

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To be removed/added, email, NOT
the whole list. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list
*** Archived at ***

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]