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* The U.S. Deputy Representative, UN, states that "once imposed, sanctions should be kept in place until the leader against whom they are directed changes behavior."
Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company
The New York Times
April 18, 2000, Tuesday, Late Edition - Final
SECTION: Section A;Page 7;Column 1;Foreign Desk
LENGTH: 565 words
HEADLINE: U.N. Council to Review Sanctions Policy as Criticism Increases
BYLINE: By BARBARA CROSSETTE
DATELINE: UNITED NATIONS, April 17
The Security Council, faced with growing criticism of embargoes that fail to deter dictators but often hurt civilians, decided unanimously today to take a hard look at how sanctions are applied and how they can be improved.
In a long debate, no council member or representative of other nations expressed unqualified approval of the way sanctions are now used. The council president, Robert Fowler of Canada, announced that a working group, drawing on outside experts, would begin a six-month policy review.
The move reflects a wider sanctions re-examination taking place around the world, including studies by committees in the British and Canadian Parliaments and expert studies for Germany and Switzerland. There are many calls for "smart" sanctions that would be more precisely directed against leaders and their entourages.
This morning, speaking to a conference of United Nations officials, diplomats and scholars, Secretary General Kofi Annan said there was a "general lack of understanding and skepticism in the general public about the rationale and usefulness of sanctions." Even among nations not affected by sanctions, he said, "there appears a growing distrust of this instrument, and its ability to bring about change at a fair cost."
The United Nations is having a hard time responding to critics of sanctions against Iraq, where, according to a new estimate from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 80 percent of the civilian population has been negatively affected.
The Clinton administration has been largely absent from this worldwide debate, diplomats say. It has instead continued to use sanctions or the threat of sanctions widely, sometimes pressing the Security Council to back up Washington's measures, to the discomfort of other nations.
Some diplomats say that barring a particularly terrible outrage by a leader somewhere, it will be very difficult in the foreseeable future to win a vote for sanctions, especially for a comprehensive economic embargo like that imposed on Iraq a decade ago.
"The Security Council has imposed sanctions 12 times since 1990 and only twice before then," Jean-David Levitte, the French ambassador here, said during today's debate, adding that the increase justified a reassessment of sanctions policy.
"The Sanctions Decade" is the title of a new book by two American scholars, David Cortright of the Fourth Freedom Forum and George Lopez of Notre Dame. The book (International Peace Academy/Lynne Reinner Publishers) studies 12 cases and summarizes suggestions for improving sanctions that have been made by experts around the world.
Today, the French and the Russians added a call for limited durations for sanctions, forcing complete reviews rather than rollovers at periodic intervals.
James B. Cunningham, the deputy American representative, said that once imposed, sanctions should be kept in place until the leader against whom they are directed changes behavior.
Security Council sanctions, carrying the possibility of military enforcement, are in effect in Afghanistan, Angola, Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Yugoslavia, the last for President Slobodan Milosevic's actions in Kosovo. Sanctions against Libya were suspended after two suspects were turned over to a Scottish court for trial in the 1988 bombing of Pan American Flight 101.
CORRECTION-DATE: April 19, 2000, Wednesday
An article yesterday about a decision by the United Nations Security Council to review its policy on sanctions misstated the flight number of the Pan American jet that was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, leading to sanctions on Libya, since suspended. It was Flight 103, not 101.
LOAD-DATE: April 18, 2000
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