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Dennis Halliday Interview

Dear Friends,
Following is a transcript of an interview with Dennis
Halliday broadcast at 8:45 GMT on Wednesday November
3rd on the Irish national radio station RTE Radio 1.
The interviewer is Richard Crowley.

Interviewer: U.N: Secretary General Kofi Annan has
re-appointed Hans von Sponeck as Humanitarian
Coordinator in Iraq, despite US and British efforts to
have him removed. Dennis Halliday, who's been accused
in the US press of having influenced von Sponeck says
the Americans and the British simply don't want the
world to hear that thousands are dying because of the

Dennis Halliday: I believe it's a matter of being
embarrased by having a reputable individual in Baghdad
who is speaking out against the impact of these
economic sanctions, for which Britain is largely
responsible; sanctions which are not impacting on the
leadership of the country but instead are in fact
responsible for infant mortality, gross malnourishment
of the population and the destruction of an entire
society. I think they're frustrated at having an
international civil servant who lives in Baghdad, sees
what he sees, and speaks up.
I understand their reaction but it's really
unacceptable to interfere in the management of an
organisation which is the responsibility of the
Secretary General.

Interviewer: How can they dispute what you said, when
you were there; what Mr. von Sponeck says when he's
there; how can they ignore that or dispute it, do you
think ?

Halliday: Well, the fact is I don't think they do
dispute it, they simply put a political spin on it
because they don't like the truth. We've seen
Madeleine Albright on Television in this country
announcing that the deaths of 500 000 children were
worth it, in terms of containing President Saddam
It's just a very uncomfortable feeling, and they know
it's true, they just can't accept it politically.

Interviewer: Given the strength of the opposition to
what Mr. von Sponeck is saying or doing, what can Kofi
Annan and others who wish to provide some kind of
humanitarian aid to the area, what can they do ?

Halliday: I think the Secretary General will continue
to resist this sort of interference, but more
importantly I think is that the Secretary General will
have to move and influence the member states towrds
lifting economic sanctions, that is the only way to
begin to resolve the plight of the children and the
people of Iraq.

Interviewer: But how might they do that, given the
strength of opposition?

Halliday: Well, you know the opposition is only in
Britain and the United States. I think the issue now
is more on the balance, that is the maintenance of
some sort of military sanctions.
Clearly the whole Middle East needs to be downgraded
in terms of military capacity; and secondly I believe
there should be sanctions against the manufacture and
sale of military hardware, which of course would
impact on Europe, North America and, I'm sorry to say,
even the Republic Of Ireland, where now licencing has
been given to some 80 companies to manufacture
component parts of military weapons. 

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