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March 24

Section four

(1)Under attack, U.S. defends keeping Iraqi sanctions
UNITED NATIONS, March 24 (Reuters)
(2) UN in danger of losing propaganda war over Iraq: Annan
(3) Annan says bombing doesn't make Iraq cooperate
UNITED NATIONS, March 24 (Reuters)
(4) West helped build Iraqi strength -British minister
LONDON (Reuters)
(5)Iraq wastes money on Iranian-exile base, U.S. says
WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters)
(6) Higher '99 output hurt Iraq's oil industry-sources
NEW YORK, March 24 (Reuters)
(7)U.S. suggests U.N. open two more Iraqi oil routes
UNITED NATIONS, March 24 (Reuters)
(8)Iraq says US not eligible to speak on human rights
BAGHDAD, March 24 (Reuters)

:03/24/2000 17:05:00 ET
Under attack, U.S. defends keeping Iraqi sanctions
UNITED NATIONS, March 24 (Reuters) - The United States launched a campaign
on Friday for retaining sanctions against Iraq after U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan said Baghdad was apparently winning the propaganda war against
the embargoes.

"Sanctions are the leverage the international community has to get the
government of Iraq to comply" with disarmament demands, U.S. Deputy
Ambassador James Cunningham told the U.N. Security Council during an all-day

Bracing for criticism on the more than $1.5 billion worth of Iraqi contracts
Washington has frozen, U.S. officials said they were releasing $100 million
worth of supplies Iraq can buy through the U.N. "oil-for-food" humanitarian

The United States has also introduced a resolution allowing Iraq to double
the amount of oil spare parts Iraq can purchase to upgrade its oil industry
>from $600 million to $1.2 billion a year in an effort to make the U.N. plan

While no one advocated an immediate lifting of the sweeping 1990 sanctions
against Iraq, the United States was criticised by several council members,
including France, Russia, China, Canada, Malaysia, Jamaica, Mali and
Bangladesh, for its large number of holds they said affected the
humanitarian programme.

Britain is a distant second with about $150 million of contracts frozen,
with its ambassador, Jeremy Greenstock, saying only a few council members
ever looked at the applications from suppliers to Iraq and left them to the
United States and Britain.

"The United Kingdom will process its examination of contracts quickly and
objectively," Greenstock said. "But we will not be diverted from carrying
our share of responsibility to prevent Iraq from rearming."
Although Iraq has lumped the United States and Britain together in the
freezing of contracts, Greenstock noted his country had approved all but 1
percent of the supplies.

Cunningham, in a breakdown of the 1,000 contracts the United States had
frozen, said more than a third required more information from the supplier,
400 raised concerns about "dual-use" for military purposes and 339 other
contracts were under review because additional data had been received.
But French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte said U.S. holds had a dire impact
on electricity, water and agricultural sectors as well as on upgrading
Iraq's oil industry.

At issue during the debate in a divided Security Council was the U.N.
oil-for-food programme for Iraq. That permits Iraq to sell oil and buy food,
medicine and other supplies to alleviate the impact of sanctions imposed
when Baghdad's troops invaded Kuwait in August 1990.

The programme requires Iraq to deposit its oil revenues in a U.N. account
>from which suppliers of goods are paid.


Calling for improvements in the programme, especially for children, Annan
said the suffering of ordinary Iraqis posed "a serious moral dilemma for the

"The United Nations has always been on the side of the vulnerable and the
weak and has always sought to relieve suffering, yet here we are accused of
causing suffering to an entire population," he said in opening the meeting.
"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," Annan said.

France's Levitte said Iraq had lost a half a million infants due to the
deterioration of its health system, and a generation of students to higher
education. "This 'embargo generation' is a lost generation," he said.
"Admittedly, the Iraqi government bears a heavy share of the initial blame
for this disastrous situation. But the Security Council must recognise its
own liability in the matter, which is indisputable and increasingly
condemned by international public opinion," Levitte said.

Russia's U.N. ambassador, Sergei Lavrov, blasted the United States, saying
it was inadmissible to ask Iraq to cooperate with the United Nations, and at
the same time bomb it on a regular basis under the unilaterally imposed
"no-fly zone."

He said the United States and Britain, since December 1998, had invaded
Iraqi airspace nearly 20,000 times, hitting food warehouses, oil pipeline
stations, and last year killing 144 people and wounding 466 others.
Lavrov also said the complicated oil-for-food programme could not be
improved substantially as long as sanctions continued. He said a December
council resolution that called for the suspension of sanctions if Iraq
complied with arms demands, had to be implemented.
Baghdad has not allowed U.N. arms inspectors to return to Iraq since
December 1998.

Iraq has $13 billion from its legal oil revenues to purchase goods since the
oil-for-food programme began in December 1996. Some $6.4 billion in supplies
have arrived.

U.S. officials also raised concerns about smuggling through Iranian waters,
which could total between $500 million and $1 billion this year.
"Smuggling is at historic levels," Cunningham said. He suggested that the
council should designate more routes, under U.N. supervision, for refined
petroleum, including at al-Faw, which is about to become operational, and
Abu Flus, used for smuggling and capable of exporting 100,000 barrels a day.

Saturday, March 25 6:04 AM SGT
UN in danger of losing propaganda war over Iraq: Annan

Opponents of Iraq in the UN Security Council agreed Friday to do more to
relieve the plight of its people, but insisted that disarmament remained the
key to removing sanctions.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan opened a major debate on the
humanitarian crisis in Iraq by warning the council that it was in danger of
losing a propaganda war with President Saddam Hussein.

Annan said the Iraqi people were "not the intended target of sanctions"
which the council imposed on Iraq in August 1990 after it invaded Kuwait.
"The humanitarian situation in Iraq poses a serious moral dilemma for this
organization," he said.

"The United Nations has always been on the side of the vulnerable and the
weak, and has always sought to reduce suffering, yet here we are accused of
causing suffering to an entire population."

In reply, the US representative, James Cunningham, said Iraq had not
resolved doubts that it had nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
"Sanctions are the leverage the international community has to get the
government of Iraq to comply," Cunningham said.

But he conceded that more could be done to enhance the oil-for-food
programme, which was set up in 1996.

The programme enables Iraq to sell crude oil under UN supervision and to use
part of the revenue to import food, medicine and other necessities including
spare parts for its oil industry.

Before the debate, the United States submitted a draft resolution to the
council which would double to 1.2 billion dollars the amount allocated for
oil equipment in a 12-month period ending in June.

Diplomats said they expected the council to vote on the draft resolution
early next week and that they foresaw no opposition to it.

Annan said recent rises in oil prices had increased the revenue of the
oil-for-food programme, but said the state of Iraq's oil industry "threatens
to undermine the program's income in the longer run."

In a report to the council last week Annan had warned that without spare
parts, "crude oil production at the levels achieved in November 1999 is no
longer sustainable."

Iraq's output peaked at about 3.0 million barrels a day in November but had
dropped by 300,000 barrels a day in recent weeks, he said.

But while all council members spoke in favor of increasing the spare parts
allocation, they disagreed about the cause of the Iraqi people's suffering
and the remedies for it.

Russia's representative, Sergey Lavrov, said that since sanctions were
imposed, "an entire generation of Iraqis has been damaged physically and
morally and become outcasts of the international community."

The new French ambassador to the UN, Jean-David Levitte, recalled that,
according to UNICEF, infant mortality in Iraq had risen from 56 per 1,000 in
the late 1980s to 131 per 1,000 today.

Improvements to the oil-for-food programme could not end the crisis, he
said. Only an end to sanctions "will allow the country's economy to start
growing again," he said.

Cunningham cast doubt on the value of UN statistics, saying they were
"mainly sourced from the regime itself."

The Dutch ambassador, Peter van Walsum, urged Iraq to invite the new UN
Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) to start work.
"In this manner it is likely to achieve the suspension of the sanctions
before the end of this year," he said.

Van Walsum, who is also chairman of the Iraq sanctions committee, recalled
that "the appointment of Hans Blix as chairman of UNMOVIC was approved
unanimously" by the council, and added: "the Security Council means

But Lavrov spotlit divisions within van Walsum's committee, saying some
countries used "completely artificial pretexts" to reject imports of badly
needed equipment to rehabilitate Iraq's infrastructure.

Annan said that many of the "holds" on contract applications had "a negative
impact on the humanitarian programme" and added: "We need a mechanism to
review these holds in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the
03/24/2000 16:16:00 ET
Annan says bombing doesn't make Iraq cooperate

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said
on Friday he did not think the bombing of Iraq by the United States and
Britain was helping to persuade Baghdad to agree to resume U.N. weapons

He was replying to a question from a reporter about a speech to the Security
Council by Russian U.N. envoy Sergei Lavrov, who said it was "inadmissible
to call upon Iraq to cooperate and at the same time to continue to bomb
Iraq's territory."

Annan, who also addressed the council debate on the humanitarian situation
in Iraq, replied: "I think Mr Lavrov spoke for himself this morning. But I
would say that the bombing has gone on for quite a while and obviously the
impact is debatable.

"This has been going for several years now and I would not want to get into
whether Iraq would cooperate more or better the moment the bombing stops.
But I don't think the bombing helps," Annan added.

U.N. weapons inspectors have not been allowed back into Iraq since leaving
in mid-December 1998, shortly before the United States and Britain launched
an air campaign in response to Baghdad's failure to cooperate with the arms

United States and Britain proclaimed "no-fly zones" over large areas of Iraq
after the 1991 Gulf war, to protect dissident Kurds in the north of the
country and Shi'ites in the south against attack by Iraqi government forces.
The allied planes frequently strike air defence sites in the zones in
response to what they allege are hostile Iraqi actions.

Lavrov noted in his council speech that the "no-fly" zones were "established
unilaterally, without any decision being taken by the United Nations," and
said they covered almost 65 percent of Iraqi territory.

"According to our data, from December 1998 up to the middle of March 2000,
U.S. and U.K. aircraft invaded Iraqi airspace almost 20,000 times," he

Lavrov said 144 people were killed and 466 wounded last year as a result of
these attacks. Among the facilities hit were warehouses and oil pipeline
metering stations used in the U.N. "oil-for-food" programme aimed at helping
ease the effects of sanctions in force since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Explanations that the raids were not directed against civilian targets "do
not hold water," he said. Nor did the idea that they were in retaliation for
actions by Iraqi air defences, Lavrov added.

The deputy U.S. representative, James Cunningham, told the council that the
"no-fly" zones were established "to alleviate the most egregious examples of
attacks on the vulnerable population groups in the north and south" of Iraq.
While "no-fly" patrols "cannot prevent every depredation against Iraqi
minorities, their enforcement has prevented wholesale genocide," Cunningham

British ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock also defended the allied air
patrols, saying the zones were established in support of a 1991 council
resolution that called on Iraq to end its repression of the civilian

"That repression continues. The zones are justified under international law
in response to a situation of overwhelming humanitarian necessity. The
United Kingdom is not prepared to leave Kurds or Shi'ias or others exposed
to renewed threat from the Iraqi airforce," Greenstock said.

"Our aircraft only target aircraft and ground facilities which target them,"
he said, adding: "If Iraq stopped attacking our aircraft, we would stop
responding to this aggression."

He said targets were carefully picked to avoid civilian casualties. He
regretted those casualties that occurred but warned against "Iraqi
statistics that tend to inflate military and civilian casualties for
propaganda effect."
03/24/2000 12:12:00 ET
West helped build Iraqi strength -British minister

LONDON (Reuters) - The United States and Britain have a lot to apologize for
over their support of Iraq while Saddam Hussein was building up his military
might, a British minister said Friday.

In a speech to parliament defending the current sanctions against Iraq,
Peter Hain -- a junior minister in the Foreign Office under the Labor
government -- acknowledged the West had played a supportive role in the
early years of Saddam's rule.

In that period the Iraqi leader was preparing to fight his neighbors, first
Iran, and later Kuwait.

"The West, including Britain and the U.S., have a lot to apologize for about
allowing the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein to get to the strength that
it achieved," Hain said.

"After all, the last (British) Tory government actually armed him, directly
and indirectly," he said.

However, Hain challenged critics to come up with an alternative to the
government's policy of sanctions against Iraq and arms inspections to try to
contain Saddam.

"I would like to see a credible alternative from the critics of sanctions
... short of simply withdrawing, lifting the sanctions and the arms
inspection arrangements ... and letting Saddam Hussein get on with the old
policy he pursued through the 80s," Hain said.

In recent months criticism has grown in Britain over sanctions imposed on
Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait and a recent BBC documentary reported
on suffering by ordinary Iraqi people.

But Hain said humanitarian relief was actually being blocked by the Iraqi
regime, which he said had not distributed one quarter of all medical goods
delivered there.

Last week, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright expressed regret at
American support for Iraq in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, saying "aspects of
U.S. policy toward Iraq during its conflict with Iran appear now to have
been regrettably short-sighted."

03/24/2000 16:16:00 ET
Iraq wastes money on Iranian-exile base, U.S. says
WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters) - The United States accused the Iraqi
government on Friday of wasting money that could have improved the welfare
of its people on a vast military complex near Baghdad for the Iranian
opposition in exile.

The opposition group, the Mujahideen Khalq, said it alone had paid for the
base and termed the U.S. accusations propaganda to justify retaining
sanctions against Iraq.

The State Department, which released a photograph of the base on Friday,
linked the allegations to a U.N. Security Council debate on humanitarian
aspects of the sanctions.

"The motivation is very pure and very simple and, we hope, very honest.
Today a debate is going on in the Security Council about how Iraq spends its
money, with many countries and many individuals challenging sanctions,"
State Department spokesman James Rubin told his daily briefing.

"To the extent that we can prove the danger of letting Saddam Hussein have
money at his disposal and the perversity with which he allocates his
resources, (the evidence) will help our case internationally for maintaining
the strongest possible coalition for sanctions," he added.

"Iraqi officials have spent scarce resources, either in the form of
construction or land or funds, (while) they have complained they don't have
money to build hospitals," he said.


The allegations have the added advantage of showing to the Iranian
government the extent of U.S. hostility toward the Mujahideen, which the
United States calls a terrorist group.

The Mujahideen, which would like to fight a conventional war from the bases
in Iraq, says the "terrorist" designation was always just an attempt to
appease the Iranian government.

Rubin also took the occasion to remind the Iranian authorities that by
letting Iraq smuggle gas oil exports through its territorial waters in
defiance of the U.N. sanctions, it might be contributing to the resources of
the Mujahideen.

He said the Mujahideen base covered 2.3 square miles (6 square km) near the
town of Falujah, 50 miles (80 km) west of Baghdad, with lakes, farms,
barracks and offices. Work on it began in late 1998, and it will hold
between 3,000 and 5,000 Mujahideen members when it is complete, he added.

"Millions of dollars of (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein's illegally
obtained money is being focused in the effort to sponsor directly, by his
state, terrorist organisations ... not to help the people of Iraq," he said.
Pressed on evidence that the money came from the Iraqis and not from the
Mujahideen's own substantial funds, Rubin said, "This kind of building that
costs millions of dollars in a major area near Baghdad would not be
constructed without costs accruing to the government of Iraq."


"Refurbishment of this site was conducted by not just the (Mujahideen) but
by Iraqi officials, and that is sufficient evidence for us to conclude that
scarce efforts, scarce funds are being focused on this effort," he said.
But the Mujahideen, which raises money from wealthy members of the Iranian
diaspora in Europe and North America, said: "The Mujahideen has not received
even one dollar from any government, including Iraq. The Mujahideen's bases
and centres have all been built from their own funds."

It said in a statement that the Falujah facility, which the Mujahideen call
Camp Bagherzadeh, was nothing new. U.N. weapons inspectors visited the base
in 1997, and foreign reporters have attended dozens of meetings there, it

"The People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran declares its readiness to
welcome visits by U.N. and Security Council officials to any or all of its
bases, offices and centres throughout Iraq," the statement added.
The Mujahideen runs a division-strength army in Iraq and, through the
closely related National Council of Resistance, has a pervasive public
relations presence in the West, including an office a short walk from the
White House.

Rubin, asked why the United States allowed the council to run its Washington
office, said the law gave U.S. authorities the power to freeze its funds but
not to seize its offices. "There are complex legal issues involved," he
:03/24/2000 16:31:00 ET
Higher '99 output hurt Iraq's oil industry-sources

NEW YORK, March 24 (Reuters) - Iraq's push in late 1999 to produce nearly as
much oil as it did before the Gulf War gave it access to higher prices, but
also further damaged an oil industry already decrepit after years of
economic sanctions, sources familiar with Iraq's oil industry said on

Even with more U.N.-authorised money likely to flow, the sources warned that
unless Iraq is able to invest in its oil industry soon, problems ranging
>from increased pollution, risks of explosions and dangerously unprotected
workers will only grow.

Indeed, in a report this week, the U.N. estimated that Iraq has an export
capacity of 1.8 million to 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd), but that in
the last four weeks, exports are down to 1.68 million bpd.
Those exports are shy of the 2.4 million bpd it produced for four weeks last
autumn in an effort to profit from rising oil prices and well below the 3
million bpd it was exporting before its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait and
the sanctions that followed.

By boosting production in an oil industry that was already in what U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan called a "lamentable state," Iraq has further
damaged its oilfields and refineries, according to the sources.
But the U.N. Security Council is next week expected to double the amount of
money, to $1.2 billion, that Iraq can spend on its oil industry over the
12-month period ending this June.

This money is to come from funds raised by Iraq's sale of oil in the
oil-for-food humanitarian programme that returned Iraq to the world oil
market in December 1996 after a five-year absence.

On Friday, the sources showed reporters photos of obsolete leaky oil
machinery that poses a danger to Iraqi workers and produces substandard oil
and oil products, they said.

"It's very sad to see what's going on," said one of the sources, who has
seen Iraq's oil industry recede since the Iran-Iraq War and particularly
since the Gulf War.

He said that in the 1980s, Iraq operated an oil industry that, in terms of
safety and pollution, was "not far off European standards. Now, it's
probably the worst I've seen. It's pretty grim."

He mentioned refinery and oilfield workers who don't have safety gloves,
hard hats or safety shoes, and even said he's seen some working in their
bare feet.

The sources said that unless more of the oil equipment Iraq has already
ordered arrives soon, its oil industry will continue to decline, fouling
Iraq's air, creating large lakes of oil and raising the liklihood of
explosions at poorly maintained oilfields and refineries,
Even if all the all the spare parts Iraq has ordered were to arrive
immediately, they would only slow the demise of Iraq's oil industry and not
greatly enhance the country's ability to produce oil.

The U.N. estimates that even without sanctions in place, it would take at
least a year (and up to three years in extreme cases) for Iraq to again
export 2.5 million barrels per day.

But with sanctions still in place, a quick turnaround for Iraq's oil
industry is even further off.

For one, Washington is intent on preventing the shipment of "dual-use" parts
it fears Baghdad can use to make weaponry, and has put holds on $344 million
worth of parts, slowing the revamp of the run-down industry. It has pledged
to approve more spare parts contracts, but remains responsible for the
lion's share of the holds on oil equipment Iraq has ordered.

U.S. officials also said on Friday they will continue to block all equipment
bound for Iraq's Basrah oil refinery because Washington believes the
refinery makes gasoil that is smuggled out of Iraq for the benefit of Saddam

Iraq annually smuggles about $500 million to $1 billion of crude oil and
gasoil, according to officials from the Multinational Interdiction Force
that seeks to stop illegal Iraqi waterborne shipments.

For its part, Iraq has indicated that it does not want to enter into
long-term agreements with foreign oil companies that might provide it with
technology, for example, to boost output at older oilfields, according to a
U.N. report.

Instead, it wishes to employ short-term service contracts for specific
immediate needs of its oil industry, a U.N. reported issued this week said,
in effect delaying the more ambitious investments its oil industry needs so
03/24/2000 15:35:00 ET
U.S. suggests U.N. open two more Iraqi oil routes

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 (Reuters) - The United States proposed on Friday
that Iraq open two more oil Gulf export routes, under U.N. supervision to
prevent an all-time high in the smuggling of petroleum products.
James Cunningham, the U.S. deputy permanent representative at the United
Nations, told the Security Council it should designate authorised routes for
refined oil products -- one at Al Fao and the other at Abu Flus, both on the
He said Abu Flus was currently used for smuggling oil and was capable of
exporting at least 100,000 barrels per day.
"It is time to bring all of Iraq's petroleum and petroleum product revenues
under the oil-for-food programme so that the full potential of the programme
can be met," he said.
Cunningham said such a move could add some $800 million a year to the
humanitarian programme, which is now consumed in smuggling ventures.
Currently Iraq is only allowed to export oil through two routes -- its Gulf
port at Mina al-Bakr and its pipeline to Turkey.
The United States has reported that smuggling oil, mainly through Iranian
waters where its interception vessels are unable to enter, has increased to
historic levels.
Diplomats say the oil is exchanged for luxury goods and projects for the
Iraq's elite, in what some envoys call an "oil-for-whiskey" scheme. The
United States and Britain want this money put into the humanitarian
Iraq has been under sanctions since its troops invaded Kuwait in August
1990. The oil-for-food programme, meant to alleviate sanctions, has come
under increasing criticism for not providing enough goods for the Iraqi
During the Security Council debate on Friday, France, Russia and China all
said the $1.5 billion worth of contracts for Iraq the United States had
frozen were unacceptable.
Washington is currently reviewing its "holds" and U.S. officials announced
on Friday they were releasing 70 contracts worth $100 million.
Britain runs a low second in freezing contracts with some 140 applications
on hold, worth about $150 million.

:03/24/2000 14:00:00 ET
Iraq says US not eligible to speak on human rights
BAGHDAD, March 24 (Reuters) - Iraq has criticised the United States for
urging a U.N. rights forum to denounce repression in certain countries,
according to the official Iraqi News Agency (INA).
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright urged the main United Nations
human rights forum on Thursday to back resolutions denouncing repression in
China and Serbia.
In a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, Albright also condemned
serious abuses allegedly committed by Russian troops against civilians in
Chechnya and named Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar and Sudan as denying people
basic freedoms.
INA reported that the head of the Iraqi delegation to the forum said
Albright was not "qualified to defend human rights from this forum while her
government is still committing genocides against the Iraqi people."
"The American air aggression is still on-going on daily bases and in ad hoc
bombardment to residential regions and civil installations including oil
production centres," the official was quoted as saying by INA.
U.S. and British planes patrol no-fly zones over southern and northern Iraq
set up after the 1991 Gulf War. The zones, which Baghdad does not recognise,
were imposed to protect a Kurdish enclave in the north and Shi'ite Moslems
in the south from possible attacks by Iraqi forces.
Oil-rich Iraq has been subjected to stringent economic sanctions since
invading Kuwait in 1990. It is allowed to sell oil under an oil-for-food
deal with the United Nations over a six-month period to buy food and
medicine for the Iraqi people and to pay compensation for the seven-month
occupation of its neighbour.
Iraq says 11,236 Iraqis, most of them children, died last month as a result
of sanctions in the country of 22 million people. An Iraqi health ministry
report issued earlier this year said more than 1.25 million people have died
since 1990.

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