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Iraq's top U.N. official leaves, saying sanctions 'missing target'

March 30
Iraq's top U.N. official leaves, saying sanctions 'missing target'

BAGHDAD (AP)  A gloomy U.N. chief left Iraq on Wednesday vowing to
continue his fight against U.N. trade sanctions which he accused of
depriving the Iraqi population of its basic rights. Several U.N.-employed
Iraqis wept when Hans Von Sponeck shook their hands for the last time.
Signs of grief were evident on the faces of his international staff.

But Von Sponeck, who resigned last month over the devastating impact of
sanctions on ordinary Iraqis, said his mission was not over. He said he
would work to persuade an increasing number of governments that enough is

Von Sponeck, a German, is the second U.N. coordinator in Iraq to resign
over the sanctions issue.

The sanctions were imposed for Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and will
only be lifted when the government proves to U.N. weapons inspectors that
it has scrapped its weapons of mass destruction and means to produce and
deliver them.

But the weapons inspectors left Iraq more than a year ago and the
government has vowed it will never allow them to return. Two former chief
weapons inspectors said on Tuesday they believed Baghdad has utilised the
inspectors' absence to resurrect its weapons programmes.

The target (of sanctions) has been missed, Von Sponeck told reporters
before leaving.

The United Nations has named Tun Myat of Myanmar, a World Food Programme
official, as the new humanitarian coordinator to replace Von Sponeck.

Von Sponeck said he could not continue watching a population that is
deprived of everything...the right to proper life, the right to work, the
right to shelter, good services and most of all the right to education.

A recent UNICEF report said at least 20 per cent of Iraqi children have
dropped out of school and are now engaged in petty trade in major urban

Iraq blames the sanctions for people's suffering, but U.N. relief
officials say the government's priorities and wars are also responsible
for the deprivation.

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