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]

von Sponeck urges end to sanctions : "I cannot be silent"

Source: Reuters
Date: 8 Feb 2000


Top UN Official Urges End to Iraq Trade Sanctions

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The senior United Nations humanitarian coordinator in
Baghdad urged an end to U.N. sanctions on Iraq, calling them ``a true
human tragedy.'' 
Hans von Sponeck, a German, told CNN television in an interview monitored
in Baghdad late on Monday night that the United Nations' oil-for-food
program was not meeting the ''minimum requirements'' of the Iraqi people. 

The program was set up, with von Sponeck at its head, to ease the hardship
of U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq for its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. 

``As a U.N. official, I should not be expected to be silent to that which
I recognize as a true human tragedy that needs to be ended,'' von Sponeck

``How long the civilian population, which is totally innocent on all this,
should be exposed to such punishment for something that they have never
done?'' he asked. 

Von Sponeck has drawn harsh criticism from the United States and Britain
for similar statements he has made in the past. 

Press reports have said Washington and London were pushing for his
dismissal, but Secretary General Kofi Annan was believed to have resisted
and asked him to stay for another year. 

``I am...very sorry that two important member governments are questioning
my integrity and questioning whether I stay within my bounds,'' he said. 

``I Cannot Be Silent'' 

``The very title that I hold as a humanitarian coordinator suggests that I
cannot be silent over that which we see here ourselves.'' 

Asked if he thought he could keep the job in the face of U.S. and British
opposition, he said: ``If I am leaving for the right reasons then I will
not regret it, but the moment I am in this job I will do my work as best
as I can.'' 

The oil-for-food deal allows Baghdad to sell $5.26 billion worth of crude
oil over six months to buy food, medicine and other supplies for the Iraqi

Von Sponeck said the program had ``certainly done some good'' for the
Iraqi people but did not ``guarantee the minimum of that a human being
requires which is clearly defined in the universal declaration of human

Last October he urged the members of the U.N. Security Council to separate
relief issues for ordinary Iraqis from the more controversial political
issues of disarmament. 

Iraq, which is under U.N. orders to destroy its weapons of mass
destruction, has banned U.N. disarmament inspectors since December 1998
when Washington and London launched four days of extensive air and missile
attacks on it for failing to cooperate with the monitors. 

Baghdad has since dismissed a new U.N. resolution which could ease the
sanctions in return for the return of the inspectors.

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]