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Since releasing our analysis of SCR 1284 I have spoken about it with an individual who is quite familiar with the UN process in Iraq. I am writing now to pass on what I feel to be the four most important remarks made in that discussion. The final point may be the most important from a factual point of view as it addresses a slight factual error made in CASI's briefing. 1. regarding the time taken to process Iraqi requests for imports under "oil for food". CASI's briefing had claimed that the development of a "green list" for humanitarian items was beneficial as ... it reduces processing time, thereby allowing ordered goods to reach Iraq more quickly. (During Phase VI of oil-for-food, applications from Phase IV were still being processed.) The need to do this had been identified by the Humanitarian Panel as well as numerous reports of the Secretary-General, particularly as the size and complexity of the oil-for-food programme has increased. It was subsequently suggested to me that I should have emphasised that processing time is not usually the most lengthy part of the imports process. The "overwhelming majority" of contracts are quickly approved. Processing takes longer for "contentious" contracts, often contracts where the Government of Iraq is felt not to have provided sufficient information. In this context, it might also bear quoting from Mr Sevan's 17 November 99 presentation of the latest "oil for food" report to the Security Council: It should be borne in mind, as well, that not all the difficulties encountered in the effective implementation of the programme can be attributed to holds placed on applications. Late submission of applications and on-going distribution and installation difficulties are similarly, if not more, serious. It is therefore important to maintain a sense of perspective about processing concerns. 2. regarding adverse consequences of "oil for food" on Iraqi domestic agriculture. CASI's briefing had alluded to Baroness Symons' 4 February claim in the House of Lords that Iraq is selling food to its neighbours--it is certainly selling to Syria and attempting to do so to Jordan. While we have never seen UN evidence of this claim it did not seem surprising as Iraqi farmers have had to compete with essentially free produce imported under "oil for food". As SCR 1284 allowed "oil for food" to make some purchases domestically, we felt that this perverse effect would be reduced. It was pointed out to me that "oil for food" may have had "unintended negative consequences" in agriculture but that this is not acknowledged by either the Government of Iraq or the FAO. It is felt, though, that farmer bankruptcy or removal of land from production was a greater problem than sales abroad: power and the ability to engage in international trade are concentrated in few hands in Iraq. 3. regarding the infiltration of Unscom by agents of foreign intelligence services. At various points the CASI briefing reports that Unscom had been infiltrated by employees of foreign intelligence services. It was pointed out to me that the sort of skills required for employment in Unscom would only be likely to be found in individuals that had intelligence experience in the employ of a national intelligence service. This is, of course, true. What had concerned us was not that such individuals had been employed but that there were accusations that these individuals had continued to report to their national intelligence services rather than exclusively to the UN Security Council. 4. regarding the functioning of the Sanctions Committee. CASI's briefing had stated that: The Sanctions Committee's structure mimics its parent body's, the Security Council: any permanent member can veto approval of a contract, or place a hold on it. This statement was not properly referenced as we have never seen the formal Rules of Procedure under which the Committee operates. SCR 661, which established the Committee, refers only to Rule 28 of the Security Council's Provisional Rules of Procedure. This bland rule merely states that: The Security Council may appoint a commission or committee or a rapporteur for a specified question It was subsequently pointed out to me that CASI's statements about the Committee's structure were incorrect; I was told that all members of the Committee have veto power. More surprisingly yet, though, I was also told that the Council's committees established under Rule 28 "are not required to have a constitution as such". This, then, seems to explain the mystery of why we have never seen the Committee's constitution. Best wishes, Colin Rowat *********************************************** Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://welcome.to/casi *********************************************** 393 King's College www.cus.cam.ac.uk/~cir20 Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)870 063 4984 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi