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This just in from the US State Department: An interview with James Rubin. ------------------------ State Department Briefing Tuesday, February 15, 2000 Briefer: James P. Rubin IRAQ Resignation of World Food Program Official in Iraq QUESTION: Now, the head of the WFP, World Food Program in Baghdad, has quit. It seems like it's going to be, "Will the last UN official to leave Iraq turn out the lights?" I'm just wondering if you have anything to say about her resignation and the reasons for it, which are similar to the reasons given by Mr. Von Sponeck. MR. RUBIN: Well, I haven't seen exactly what she said. I'm aware of another resignation and I can assure you that these are not the last UN officials in Iraq. There are plenty of people working every day to try to help the people of Iraq. Because the leaders have made these decisions doesn't mean that the work won't continue. There are many other people there. I could get you the numbers, but there are many other people there. With respect to the reasons given, there is a suggestion that somehow this is personal. This is not personal. It is our view that the roles of the humanitarian coordinator and the humanitarian officials there are not the role of self-appointed spokesmen for the Security Council and the world as to the wisdom of sanctions. This is not a personal issue; this is a professional issue involved in people's professional duties. If people believe that they can't in good conscience continue their work, I think all of us respect that. There are obviously different views on the wisdom of sanctions in the world. But when the Security Council has made a decision to impose sanctions and all the members of the Council have endorsed time and time again those sanctions, it's not up to a humanitarian official -- who is there to implement a program that the United States and the others started intended to generate revenue because Saddam Hussein won't use his own revenue to pay for humanitarian goods and services for the people of Iraq. So when these well-intentioned individuals are concerned about the fate of the Iraqi people, it is our view that they should direct their concern and their blame-casting at the Iraqi regime, which refuses day after day, time after time, to spend its hard currency helping its own people, so the United Nations and the United States have to come up with a different way to create revenue for the food and medicine and other supplies that are being made available. If it were not for the US and the UN efforts in this regard, billions of dollars of food and medicine would not have gone to the people of Iraq. So there is no question that we share concern about the people of Iraq. The only people that don't seem to share any concern about the people of Iraq are the members of the regime who would prefer to spend money on elaborate palaces, elaborate cars, elaborate houses, amusement parks, man-made lakes and many other luxury goods, rather than spend any of this hard currency helping their own people. QUESTION: An aside, and a kind of corollary to that is, you don't see the two resignations as disrupting or affecting the programs? MR. RUBIN: The program has existed before. You know, this is not the first time individuals have decided that they would prefer not to hold these posts. The program will continue because it is a program that we are behind, the United Nations is behind. To the extent the Iraqis allow the oil to be sold for this purpose, it will be spent for the purposes specified by the resolution and we don't see this needing to interfere in any significant way with the operations of the program. (Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: usinfo.state.gov) ============================================================ Additional Information available: Policies and Statements: http://usinfo.state.gov/regional/nea/iraq/iraq.htm TO GET OFF THIS LIST: Send a message that says SIGNOFF US-IRAQPOLICY to LISTSERV@LISTS.STATE.GOV -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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