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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 UNITED NATIONS, March 24 (AFP) (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) ==================== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000324_3031.html :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 debate. 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 programme. 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 work. 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. UN IN DANGER OF LOSING PROPAGANDA WAR ON SANCTIONS Calling for improvements in the programme, especially for children, Annan said the suffering of ordinary Iraqis posed "a serious moral dilemma for the organisation." "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 UNITED NATIONS, March 24 (AFP) - 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 business." 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 programme." ==================== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000324_2853.html 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 inspections. 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 teams. 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 added. 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 said. 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 population. "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." ========================== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000324_1958.html 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." ================= http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000324_2849.html 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. TO WASHINGTON, A "TERRORIST" GROUP 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." "SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE FOR US" "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 said. "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 said. ============ http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000324_2911.html :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 Friday. 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 Hussein. 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 badly. =========== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000324_2683.html 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 Gulf. 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 programme. 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 people.. 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. ============== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000324_2338.html :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. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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