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Following are a pair of encouraging items from the ADC (the largest Arab-American grassroots organization). The first includes a clear statement against economic sanctions by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. === http://www.adc.org/press/2000/28march2000.htm Arab Americans meet with Presidents Clinton and Mubarak at White House Washington D.C., March 28 - President Bill Clinton and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak today met with Arab-Americans at the White House to discuss Middle East issues. The meeting marks the first time that American and Arab Presidents have met jointly with Arab-Americans at the White House. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation's largest grassroots Arab-American organization, was represented by its Vice President Khalil E. Jahshan. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa also participated in the meeting. The meeting included a detailed discussion of the Arab-Israeli peace process and the recent Geneva meeting between President Clinton and Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad. Both President Clinton and President Mubarak expressed their disappointment at the failure of the Geneva summit to revive the Syrian-Israeli track, however, both vowed to confer with the Syrian President and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to bridge the gap between their respective positions. President Clinton, who promised to continue his "high level participation" in the talks, described these differences as "simple but difficult," and said that focus would now shift to the Palestinian track. There was also a serious discussion of the Palestinian-Israeli track, including the issue of Palestinian refugees. Both President Mubarak and Foreign Minister Musa emphasized the necessity of resolving the Palestinian refugee problem for just and lasting peace to prevail in the Middle East. ADC Vice-President Jahshan asked President Mubarak to comment on his discussions with Mr. Clinton on the economic sanctions against Iraq. President Mubarak said that the economic sanctions have exhausted their usefulness as a policy and need to be lifted. He said that all parties should work together to find the "right formula" for lifting the sanctions against the Iraqi people. While admitting that the United States "cannot totally evade responsibility" for the sanctions, President Clinton said that the issue has "bedeviled us for years." Jahshan characterized the two-hour meeting as "a serious and useful exchange with both Presidents." He expressed his satisfaction with "the unprecedented openness and frankness of both leaders in dealing with difficult and challenging questions raised by Arab-American participants." === http://www.adc.org/press/2000/07march2000.htm 07 March 2000 Arab-Americans Present Proposals for Humanitarian Relief in Iraq to Administration Washington D.C., March 7 -- Leaders of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation's largest Arab-American grassroots organization, today presented State Department officials with specific proposals addressing the humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq. ADC President Hala Maksoud and Khalil E. Jahshan, President of NAAA-ADC, the newly created governmental affairs arm of ADC, along with other Arab-Americans met today with Edward S. Walker, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. While the ADC leaders reiterated their call for the complete lifting of economic sanctions against Iraq, they presented the Administration with a set of specific proposals designed to assist the civilian population of Iraq. In its proposal, ADC points out that "the most important points of intervention would be the provision of equipment for increasing agricultural production and providing clean water for the Iraqi people. Increased food production would reduce malnutrition; clean water would reduce infectious diseases. Of particular importance is the need to renovate and rebuild the water purification and sewage treatment plants; repair and maintain dams and reservoirs, pumping stations, and filtration plants; replace leaky and contaminated pipelines; and provide sufficient chlorine." The proposal also calls for the changing of "dual use" criteria to allow for a much broader definition of what constitutes "essential civilian goods" to meet the needs of Iraqi civilian. The ADC proposal suggests that: - The U.S. should actively support the rebuilding of the Iraqi medical system; - The unimpeded importation of a wide range of medicines and medical supplies to Iraq; - The restoration of food production, processing, storage, distribution, and marketing facilities in Iraq; - The importation of a wide range of clean water supplies to Iraq; - The U.S. should stop blocking $601 million in contracts to rebuild Iraq's power grids; - NGOs should be empowered to assist in rebuilding the Iraqi educational system. TEXT OF PROPOSALS: NAAA-ADC, the newly created governmental affairs arm of ADC, today submitted to the Clinton Administration a set of recommendations regarding steps that the United States might take to alleviate the humanitarian crisis among Iraqi civilians: Our view remains that the economic sanctions regime imposed against Iraq has exhausted its usefulness and should be lifted entirely. The socio-economic infrastructure of any society is so interrelated that damage to one area tends to render other areas dysfunctional. But, until the overall United States policy vis-a-vis Iraq is changed, the best way to help the Iraqi people would be through a number of specific steps aimed at rebuilding the civilian infrastructure of the country. We are encouraged by recent reports indicating that the Clinton Administration is rethinking its stance on Iraq's civilian infrastructure needs. U.S. easing of restrictions on pesticides and chlorine and approval of an $80 million contract for electrical repairs will undoubtedly be very helpful. We also understand that the Administration is looking for ways to ease restrictions on the importation of oil industry equipment and other industrial products. We urge similar consideration with regard to systemic improvements in food production and public health. The immensely high death rates in Iraq, particularly among children, which have been documented by UNICEF, WHO, the Red Cross and other international observers, stem in large measure from the deterioration in the agricultural and public health infrastructure. Therefore, the most important points of intervention would be the provision of equipment for increasing agricultural production and providing clean water for the Iraqi people. Increased food production would reduce malnutrition; clean water would reduce infectious diseases. This should result in a substantial reduction in the current death rates, which are morally unjustifiable. Of particular importance is the need to renovate and rebuild the water purification and sewage treatment plants; repair and maintain dams and reservoirs, pumping stations, and filtration plants; replace leaky and contaminated pipelines; and provide sufficient chlorine. This is essential in order to alleviate water shortages for human consumption and agricultural purposes. It will also curtail the spread of infectious diseases through contaminated water. At present, raw sewage often contaminates the drinking water used by people already weakened by malnutrition, especially children. The result has been water-born epidemic disease, infant diarrhea, dehydration and high infant mortality. UN humanitarian coordinator Hans von Sponeck recently reported that the volume of potable water available has diminished in the past 18 months, as has the volume of sewerage treated. Meanwhile, 20% of the water and sanitation resources requested in phases IV-VI of the program is still "on hold." The U.S. should also actively approve and support the rebuilding of the Iraqi medical system. This should include equipment for hospitals and clinics, the medicine and medical supplies still kept out of Iraq, and the electrical power needed to operate medical facilities and institutions. The criteria regarding "dual use" items should be changed. Greater weight should be given to the importance of ensuring that "essential civilian goods" are provided for the Iraqi people. The definition of what constitutes "essential civilian goods" should be broadened. The U.S. representative to the UN 661 Committee which reviews Iraqi contracts should be instructed to approve such materials and eliminate the backlog of contracts put "on hold." Such materials should receive automatic approval, or at least the process should be greatly speeded up to eliminate the long delays in approval of contracts. Where dual use concerns remain, the shipment, delivery, storage, utilization and maintenance of such materials should be placed under the supervision of the UN humanitarian organizations overseeing the oil-for-food program. These organizations already oversee, document, and confirm the equitable distribution, storage and end use of materials purchased through this program. The World Food Program inspectors monitor food distribution. These agencies should be provided with the additional funding and staffing needed to carry out their responsibilities. Below are some specific suggestions about materials which have been reported to be blocked by the 661 Committee or in particular need. We recommend that they be carefully considered and approved. This listing is drawn from news stories and reports by UN agencies and other international observers. It is by no means complete. - AGRICULTURE: The UN humanitarian coordinator reports that the oil-for-food basket lacks proteins and never exceeds 2000 Kcal per person per day, which falls short of the designated 2300 Kcal. To meet nutritional needs, food production, processing, storage, distribution, and marketing facilities must be restored. Silos, flourmills and bakeries need rebuilding. Animal herds decimated by disease must be replenished. Fertilizer and insecticide plants must be rebuilt. Materials needed include fertilizer, pesticides and pesticide sprayers, earth-moving and irrigation equipment to combat drought, vaccines to counteract a new outbreak of disease among poultry, pipes and electrical systems for irrigation and desalinization of agricultural land. - CLEAN WATER MATERIALS: Chlorine for water treatment, pipes for carrying water, water pumps, oxygen generators to break down organic waste, water meters, polyethylene pipes accessories, epoxy for repairing cracks in the water treatment clarification tanks, mechanical and electrical and mechanical equipment for sewage pump stations, equipment for treating industrial waste water, equipment for digging underground wells, intake systems for water treatment plants, and any other equipment needed for filtering water, extracting sewage and converting sewage to fertilizer. - MEDICAL NEEDS: Von Sponeck reported recently that, despite some improvement, the supply of medicines and medical supplies is still inadequate, particularly for chronic diseases. Other reports show a need for: ambulances, anesthetics for operations, surgical material, light bulbs for operating theater lamps, sterilizers, cotton for medical swabs, gauze, shrouds, sheets, communications equipment for hospitals (e.g. pagers, cell phones, hospital-ambulance links), plastic blood transfusion bags, medical textbooks and journals for medical schools, fogging machines to control malaria, medical syringes, vaccines for diphtheria, yellow fever and tetanus, NCR computers (which can only be used in specific hematology and hepatitis studies) for children's hospitals, and trucks (including refrigerated trucks) for delivery of medical supplies. The medical program of the International Committee of the Red Cross to repair hospitals and medical centers and train medical staff to reverse the "de-professionalization" of personnel should receive full U.S. support. - ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: The United States has held up $601 million in contracts to repair Iraq's power grid. The U.S. should allow the grid to be rebuilt. Without power, the humanitarian crisis cannot be overcome and civilian society cannot function properly. An erratic power supply halts pumping and prevents proper functioning of water and sewage treatment plants, prevents refrigeration of food and medicine, and does not allow the operation of hospital equipment. Specific needs include electrical plant spare parts and generators, especially for water and sewage treatment, hospitals and clinics. - EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM: Iraq's educational system has also been severely damaged by the Gulf War and the economic sanctions imposed on the country. In his recent report to the UN Security Council, UN humanitarian coordinator Hans von Sponeck emphasized that "a whole generation of Iraqi children is not receiving proper education." Indeed, the education sector in Iraq receives only a small percentage, not exceeding 4 percent, of the oil-for-food funds. Consequently, school enrollments are down, leaving Iraqi youth ill prepared to be productive adults. The long-term repercussions of this situation are frightening for Iraq, the Gulf region, and U.S. interests throughout the area. We urge that UNICEF and other specialized international agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) be empowered to assist in rebuilding the Iraqi educational system and distribute much-needed educational materials and supplies throughout Iraq. Dual use standards should be amended to allow for the free and unimpeded flow of rudimentary educational supplies, such as textbooks and pencils, throughout the system. The lives and well being of the people of Iraq literally depend on our action or inaction in these matters. President Clinton stated repeatedly that "our quarrel is with Saddam, not with the Iraqi people." Other Administration officials have also stressed that "sanctions were never directed against the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people." Yet the comprehensive economic sanctions have clearly caused unbearable suffering to the people we are claiming to help. Therefore, the time has come to liberate the Iraqi people from the heinous impact of economic sanctions on their daily lives. Let us do the right thing by putting an end to their inhumane suffering. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi