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Write to the FT !

The following important article appeared in the Financial Times on Tuesday
2nd November.

Letters to the editor can be e-mailed to

UK wants UN chief in Iraq to be sacked.

by Roula Khalaf, Middle East Editor

The US and Britain are pressing for the dismissal of Hans von Sponeck, the
United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator in Baghdad, according to senior
western diplomats.

The push to get rid of Mr Von Sponeck is driven by frustration with his
public statements on the debilitating effects of nine years of UN
sanctions on Iraq.

But Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, who has suffered his own share
of criticism from Washington and London on his handling of Iraq, is

He is believed to have told Mr Von Sponeck to stay in his job for another

Senior Western diplomats said yesterday the pressures being exerted on Mr
Von Sponeck were similar to the events that led to his predecessor, Denis
Halliday, an Irish national, to leave the job in October 1998.

Mr Halliday quit the UN and now campaigns for a lifting of sanctions on

US and UK policy aims to maintain sanctions on Iraq and to blame the
effects of the embargo on the regime of Saddam Hussein. They consider UN
officials who speak out against sanctions as playing into Mr Saddam's

US and British officials maintain that Iraqis are not receiving enough
food and medicine under the oil-for-food programme, which allows Iraq to
sell $5.3 bn (3.2 bn pounds) of oil every six months to buy humanitarian
goods, because the Iraqi government refuses to distribute the goods.

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