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Jutta Burghardt, head of the UN's World Food Program in Iraq, has tendered her resignation, mere days after the protest-resignation of Humanitarian Coordinator Hans von Sponeck. AP reports that "... one of the diplomats said that in (Ms.Burghardt's) letter to WFP headquarters in Rome she said that she cannot continue in her job amid the widespread suffering she attributes to U.N. sanctions." I've attached a plea from Kathy Kelly and Jeff Guntzel which I enourage you to take to heart. This is indeed a "rare and important opportunity to write and call your local newspaper" and press the case against sanctions. Attached are two reports from Kathy and Jeff's group, Voices in the Wilderness, and two news reports on Ms. Burghardt's resignation. Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA > -----Original Message----- > From: Voices in the Wilderness [SMTP:email@example.com] > Subject: Third U.N. official in Iraq to resign in protest! > > Hello Friends-- > > By now, most of you may have heard about the great success of yesterday's > demonstration at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Between 250-300 > attended the demonstration and 86 were arrested and reporters from Time > magazine, CNN, AP, Fox, ABC, and UPI were on hand to cover the events. > Below you'll find links to the media coverage. > > Many of the reports of the protest piggy-backed news that the top United > Nations official in Iraq, Hans Von Sponeck, decided to resign. Mr. von > Sponeck is the second Humanitarian Cordinator in Iraq to resign in protest > of the sanctions (Denis Halliday was the first). > > Now we have gotten word that Jutta Burghardt, the head of the U.N.'s World > Food Program in Iraq has just resigned her post, also in protest. > > We are asking.....actually, begging you to take this rare and important > opportunity to write and call your local newspaper editors or any > reporters you think would write an article or op-ed about this story. > Give them our office number (773-784-8065) and we can supply updated > information on the resignations. Links to the AP and Reuters reports on > the resignations are also listed below. > > Please help us assure that this story is not ignored. Grass roots efforts > helped publicize Dennis Halliday's resignation and enabled him to speak > out against the sanctions across the US and Europe. We're not sure how > much speaking Mr. von Sponeck and Dr. Burghardt will be prepared to > undertake, but it seems wise to encourage US Congresspeople to seek > hearings and invite testimony from each of these courageous diplomats. > > Should you find that the links below aren't helpful, let us know and we'll > send you the actual text of these any documents you can use. Let us know > also what successes you have. > > Thank you and Good luck! > > Jeff Guntzel and Kathy Kelly, for Voices in the Wilderness > > > Links: > > AP coverage of Monday's protests at the UN and von Sponeck's resognation: > <http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/i/AP-UN-Iraq-Sanctions.html> > > AP report on Hans von Sponeck from 1-13-99: > <http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000213/wl/iraq_un_9.html> > > Backround on Hans von Sponeck from our website: > <http://www.nonviolence.org/vitw/pages/80.htm> > > AP on the resignation of Jutta Burghardt of the WFP: > <http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000215/wl/iraq_un_10.html> > > Reuters on the Resignation of Jutta Burghardt of the WFP: > <http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000215/wl/iraq_un_5.html> > === <<< Excerpt from VITW letter of February 9>>> Report on the meeting with Toni Berry of the U.S. State Department's Iraq Desk The following is the report of Voices in the Wilderness' meeting at the State Department in January 24. On January 24, 2000, Ms. Toni Berry of the U.S. State Department's Iraq Desk met for an hour and a half with three Voices in the Wilderness representatives, Chris Allan-Doucot, Nick Arons, and Kathy Kelly. We introduced ourselves as representative not only of Voices in the Wilderness, but also of a growing network of concerned individuals and groups opposed to the US/UN economic sanctions on Iraq, including the National Council of Churches, National Council of Catholic Bishops, Presbyterian Church USA General Assembly, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi USA, the American Friends Service Committee, Western Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Arab-American Anti Discrimination Committee, Life for Relief and Development, the Council on Islamic Arab Relations, and Conscience International, Chris Doucot displayed a carefully organized notebook of photos showing victims of both bombardment and sanctions. We told Ms. Berry that State Department reports frequently contradict UN official reports as well as evidence we've witnessed first hand regarding destruction caused by a war on two fronts, economic warfare and bombardment. Ms. Berry told us the history of the no-fly zones, asserting that the patrols are meant to protect Iraqi people. We pointed out that the families of the 143 people who've been killed by these "patrols" would have difficulty appreciating this protection. She said that State Department contacts 'on the ground' in Iraq say that Iraqi people want the no-fly zone patrols and bombing to continue. We noted that not a single person with whom we've met, in the course of 31 delegations, has asked that no-fly zones and bombardment continue. She didn't dispute that bombing no fly zones is a violation of international law and that innocent people are killed. Nor did she dispute that it's unfair of the US State Department to deny that people are being killed. We showed her fragments of bomb parts which we collected in July of 1999. Regarding the effect of economic sanctions on Iraq's economy, Ms. Berry said that if sanctions were lifted today, Iraq's government would not have any more revenue to work with than that which it already could generate. She then raised concerns over what the government of Iraq would do with added revenue, given the recent record of building palaces. She said they have no indication that Iraq would use added revenue to help its people. We noted that prior to the Gulf War, Iraq had developed an advanced means of meeting the health, housing and education needs of its people. As a sovereign nation, Iraq has a right to decide for itself how it will spend revenue raised from sales of its own resources. We frequently referred to UN briefings which we attended in Baghdad during which Mr.Hans von Sponeck assured us that stockpiling of goods should not be attributed to malice on the part of the Iraqi government but rather to problems caused by the economic sanctions. We summarized some of the ways in which imposition of the sanctions interferes with efficient distribution of goods and also pointed out several reasons why distribution in the north is more effective than in the south-valid reasons based on important facts which are not mentioned in the US State Department reports which assign all blame to the Government of Iraq. We noted that this information is crucial for a better understanding of why Iraqi people suffer from severe shortages and asked why the State Department chose not to include these facts in their August report. We noted that on three separate occasions President Clinton, Secretary of State Ms. Albright, and Defense Secretary William Cohen have stated that sanctions will not be lifted until the current regime is removed from power. We asked what incentive the Iraqi government would have to comply with UN mandates if in fact the US has assured them that compliance will not result in lifting the sanctions. Ms. Berry stated that humanitarian concerns are "number one" in the US State Department's view, but in concert with concern over containment of Saddam Hussein. She agreed that the role the US is playing is not good for the country's image abroad. She said they would prefer a situation in which Iraqi people weren't suffering. Chris Doucot said that he believes US people would approve a change in the policy. Ms. Berry said that "Congress would never go along with a change in policy that alleviates suffering as long as Saddam Hussein is still in power." We felt quite positive about introducing ourselves and our concerns to the State Department through this meeting with Ms. Berry. She listened carefully to our grievances and clearly understood our conviction that these grievances are ground in human decency, truth, and international law. The exchange encouraged us to seek public debates between representatives of the US State Department and spokespeople who favor lifting the economic sanctions. The meeting with Ms.Berry suggests to us that the strategy advocated by Phyllis Bennis in a recent response to Resolution 1284 makes sense: continue pressing the media to challenge the current policy and continue efforts to educate and persuade legislators as regards the lethal effects of economic sanctions. It's also important that we continue linking with human rights groups. Ms. Berry noted that other human rights groups and religious groups have visited her and asked that sanctions be maintained. We've recently met with Mr. Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch and are meeting today with Kani Xalam of the Kurdish Information Agency. Along with listening to the concerns of these groups, we'll urge them to write to, call, and visit with State Department representatives to express concerns over the human rights abuses caused by economic sanctions on Iraq. These letters, calls, and visits are noted. === http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000215/wl/iraq_un_5.html Tuesday February 15 1:47 PM ET Second U.N. Aide in Iraq Resigns in Protest By Hassan Hafidh BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A second senior U.N. humanitarian official in Iraq has resigned in protest at the failure of U.N. relief programs in Iraq, Western diplomatic sources in Baghdad said Tuesday. They said Jutta Burghardt, head of the World Food Program (WFP) in Iraq, handed in her resignation Monday. She followed Hans von Sponeck, the top U.N. official in Iraq, who said Monday he was quitting for the same reason. In Rome, a WFP spokesman confirmed that Burghardt had resigned but said she had taken the decision for personal reasons. ``It is a personal decision to leave and go back to work for the German government,'' Francis Mwanza, spokesman for the U.N. world food body, told Reuters. The WFP is linked to the oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq to sell oil to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian needs for the Iraqi people. The WFP also distributes food aid to nearly one million needy Iraqis affected by the tough U.N. sanctions imposed on the country for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Von Sponeck, whose resignation takes effect March 31, is in charge of the U.N. oil program, which is intended to ease the impact of the sanctions on the Iraqi people by ensuring supplies of essential goods. The sources said Burghardt resigned because she felt the U.N. humanitarian program in Iraq was a failure. She also opposed the latest Security Council resolution offering to ease U.N. sanctions against Iraq if Baghdad allowed disarmament monitors to return. Baghdad has rejected the resolution, saying it is time to lift the crippling economic sanctions imposed on the country in 1990 for its invasion of Kuwait. Both von Sponeck and Burghardt are Germans. Von Sponeck, a career U.N. official, has angered Britain and the United States by criticizing the sanctions and saying the humanitarian program has failed to meet the needs of Iraq's 22 million people. Von Sponeck Says He Resigned For Personal Reasons Von Sponeck said that he had resigned for personal reasons, not because of pressure from Washington and London. ``It is certainly not because of pressure. I primarily think I must leave now for personal reasons,'' von Sponeck told Reuters Tuesday. ``I hope that who ever replaces me would have a very short assignment here,'' he said, meaning that he hoped that the sanctions would be lifted and the program would be terminated. He said that he had resigned because he could not remain silent on the failings of the U.N. humanitarian program. ``I think time has come when I come out to say so and when I do that I must be able to face the consequences...that I must then accept to leave the position,'' he said. Von Sponeck told Qatar-based al-Jazeerah satellite television that other U.N. officials shared his views on the suffering of the Iraqi people. ``Well, everyone here in the U.N. is concerned over the inadequacy of the performance of the oil-for-food program ... That is not just my view,'' he said. ``So I'm not at all alone in my view that we have reached a point where it is no longer acceptable that we are keeping our mouths shut. ``Our support, my support, my commitment is for the Iraqi people as a group of deprived people whose tragedy should end.'' Von Sponeck repeated earlier remarks that deprivation in Iraq was also partly due to ``a tightly controlled state with many limitations.'' === <http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20000215/wl/iraq_un_10.html> Tuesday February 15 12:30 PM ET U.N.'s Iraq Food Program Chief Quits By WAIEL FALEH Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The head of the U.N. World Food Program in Iraq has quit to protest U.N. trade sanctions, European diplomats in Baghdad said today. Jutta Burghart of Germany has administered the distribution of food supplies in Iraq under the U.N.-approved oil-for-food deal since she assumed her post in January 1999. Several attempts by The Associated Press to reach Burghart for comment failed, but one of the diplomats said that in her letter to WFP headquarters in Rome she said that she cannot continue in her job amid the widespread suffering she attributes to U.N. sanctions. In Rome, WFP spokesman Francis Mwanza confirmed that Burghart had resigned, but he said it was a ``personal decision to leave and go back to her previous employer, the German government.'' He said her decision was not made to protest the sanctions. Burghart is the second high-ranking U.N. official in Iraq to quit in three days. Iraq's chief Humanitarian coordinator, Hans Von Sponeck, quit over the sanctions. His resignation was accepted Monday. The resignations come at a time when the U.N. humanitarian program was supposed to be improving following the decision by the Security Council in December to try to get more aid to Iraqis faster. While the United States has supported the new Iraq policy, it is wary of implementing the changes before weapons inspections resume in Iraq. Washington has held up contracts - mostly to rebuild Iraq's oil industry and power plants - fearing such equipment could be used for military purposes. Iraq's trade minister, Mohammed Mehdi Saleh, warned this weekend that Baghdad will consider cutting back its oil output even further unless the ``holds'' on oil spare parts are lifted. With world oil prices rising and supplies tight, a substantial cut in Iraqi exports could push prices higher if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries continues to restrict its production. Von Sponeck, a German diplomat, hasn't commented since he announced his resignation Sunday. But diplomats in Baghdad and U.N. officials in New York said the career U.N. civil servant found it too difficult to work under the sanctions. U.N. sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait barred Baghdad from selling oil, its most precious commodity, on the open market. Under U.N. resolutions, the sanctions cannot be lifted until U.N. inspectors determine that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction have been eliminated. Von Sponeck is the second humanitarian coordinator to quit. Denis Halliday resigned in 1998 after deciding he didn't want to be associated with the sanctions any longer. Iraq has vowed not to cooperate with the United Nations in implementing the resolution and on Tuesday poured lavish praise on Von Sponeck. ``The United States acts as if the United Nations is one of its own states. ... Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday have refused to sell themselves to America and have stood for the truth,'' the daily newspaper al-Iraq said in a front-page editorial. Von Sponeck's announcement came as protesters mounted a second day of demonstrations Monday in New York to demand an end to the sanctions. More than 100 people demonstrated on the front steps of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and 86 were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after they refused to leave. ``I think this is the worst case of child abuse today,'' said Bert Sacks, 58, a protester from Seattle who said he had traveled to Iraq a half-dozen times bringing medicine to Iraqis in violation of the sanctions. Such sentiments have caught the attention of lawmakers in Washington, 70 of whom wrote to President Clinton last month urging that sanctions be lifted. Some of the lawmakers scheduled a news conference on Wednesday to highlight the cause. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi