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]
Note how absurd the Dutch ambassador's comments are ... -rania UN Chief Suggests UN Losing Propaganda War on Iraq http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000324/wl/iraq_un_1.html ________________________________________________________________________________ Friday March 24 12:33 PM ET UN CHIEF SUGGESTS UN LOSING PROPAGANDA WAR ON IRAQ By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Friday the United Nations may be in danger of losing the propaganda war on sanctions against Baghdad if more steps are not taken to improve life for ordinary Iraqis. At the same time Annan, opening a major Security Council debate on Iraq, said Baghdad should comply with council decisions, an apparent reference to disarmament demands, so that 10-year-old sweeping U.N. sanctions end quickly. With the Security Council divided on Iraq, the debate on humanitarian issues, in itself, was controversial. Russia, China and France wanted the U.N. relief agencies to speak. The United States and Britain agreed but said the U.N. human rights investigator had to be included as well. In the end Annan was the only U.N. official to speak. But Carol Bellamy, the head of the U.N. Children's Fund, UNICEF, was in the council to answer questions. ``The United Nations has always been on the side of the vulnerable and the weak and has always sought to relieve suffering,'' Annan said. ``Yet here we are accused of causing suffering to an entire population.'' ``We are in danger of losing the argument, or the propaganda war -- if we haven't lost it already-- about who is responsible for this situation -- President Saddam Hussein or the United Nations,'' he said. Saying he was particularly concerned about the suffering of Iraqi children, Annan told the council: ``We cannot in all conscience ignore such reports or assume they are wrong.'' He complimented the council for drawing up procedures to expedite some vital goods and realized that people under sanctions could be victims of their own government also. ``The only satisfactory outcome of any such situation is for the state in question to return to full compliance with the decisions of the council so that sanctions can be ended as quickly as possible,'' Annan said. Annan also said the amount of contracts frozen in the Security Council's sanctions committee had a direct negative impact of the humanitarian situation, particularly on efforts to rehabilitate Iraq's crumbling infrastructure. The United States, according to U.S. officials, has put some 1,000 contracts worth more than .5 billion on hold, either because they could be used for military purposes, for smuggling oil or because the applications lacked details. Britain runs a distant second with about 100 contracts on hold while Russia, France and China, all sympathetic to Baghdad, rarely put any contracts on hold. Iraq has revenues to purchase billion in goods since the so-called ``oil-for-food'' program, which allows Baghdad to sell oil in order to buy humanitarian goods, began in December 1996. Some .4 billion in supplies have arrived. A new U.S. review of sanctions measures, just completed, would result in an immediate lifting of 70 contracts worth million, U.S. officials said, along with other measures. Washington has also agreed to Annan's proposals to double the amount of equipment for Iraq's oil industry >from million to .2 billion annually and has drawn up a resolution to this effect, expected to be adopted next week. By upgrading the oil-for-food program and Baghdad's oil industry, Washington hopes to alleviate the humanitarian situation and counter rising demands to lift the sanctions, in force since Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. An easing of sanctions requires compliance on disarmament and Iraq so far has not let U.N. weapons inspectors return to the country since December 1998. The United States is particularly concerned about the increased value in oil smuggled by Iraq through Iranian waters, which could total between million and billion this year. Diplomats say the oil is exchanged for luxury goods and projects for the Iraqi elite, in what some diplomats called an ''oil-for-whiskey'' scheme. Dutch ambassador Peter van Walsum, chairman of the council's Iraqi sanctions committee, said Iraq was the only country in modern history that not only attempted to develop all categories of weapons of mass destruction but actually used them against a foreign country and its own people. ``In doing so, Iraq has placed itself into a league of its own,'' he said. He said Iraq had repeatedly blocked improvements to the humanitarian program, including a refusal to institute it for several years. ``The international community is almost defenseless against this approach,'' he said. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi