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Congressional Briefing w/ Former UN Officials. (End the seige!)

With the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

May 4, 2000


Neveen Salem, Communications Director
202-789-2262 x 205

Congressional Briefing with Former UN Officials to Call for Lifting of
Sanctions on Iraq

(Washington DC, May 4, 2000) Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), John
Conyers (D-MI) and Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), along with three former high
ranking U.N. officials held a congressional briefing yesterday May 3, to
call for the lifting of the decade long U.S. led sanctions imposed on Iraq.

Reps. Kucinich, Conyers and McKinney challenged the Administration's
statements that Iraq not only refused the "food for oil" program but the
program when implemented has, 'made an overwhelming difference to the Iraqi
people.' The Representatives also differed with the Administration's claims
that, 'food, medicine and human goods have all been exempt from sanctions on
Iraq.' "If that was true we would not be here today," Conyers insisted. To
date more than 70 members of Congress have signed a (December 15, 1999)
letter addressed to President Clinton calling for the lifting of sanctions
on Iraq.

Hans von Sponeck, and Denis Halliday, former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinators,
and Scott Ritter, former UNSCON weapons inspector, emphatically condemned
the sanctions. They cited the sanctions as the cause of the deaths of
hundred of thousands of Iraqi civilians, many of whom are children. The
speakers placed some, if not most of the blame for the death and suffering
of the Iraqi people not on the "demonized" despot Saddam Hussein but on the
shoulders of the United Sates who have led the sanctions against Iraq.

Hans von Sponeck, submitted his resignation in February of this year after
concluding that the oil for food program was not even meeting the basic
sustenance needs of the Iraqi people. "Sanctions have brought nothing but
suffering and they cannot continue. The United States must realize that it
has failed and must grant the Iraqi people the right to live," von Sponeck

Dennis Halliday, who resigned in early October 1998, dispelled the theory
that the sanctions are having any effect on the leadership of Iraq. He also
issued a plan calling for the re-opening of U.S.- Iraqi dialogue and a
re-establishment of weapons inspections within Iraq. "The focus should not
be on the past but on the future," Halliday suggested.

Scott Ritter, stated that the question which needs to be addressed is, "what
threat does Iraq present today and what threat does it present in the
future?" He repeatedly said that, "Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction."
And therefore does not constitute a threat.

AMC's President Yahya M. Basha was among the delegation from Michigan which
read a statement addressed to the State Department calling for the sanctions
to be lifted. AMC also entered a statement to the State Department into the
records of the briefing.

Aly R. Abuzaakouk, the Executive Director of AMC who attended the briefing
said that, "AMC commends Representatives Conyers, Kucinich,, McKinney, for
their efforts in helping to end the suffering of the innocent people of
Iraq. It is due time that our State department ceases to use economic
as a tool of foreign policy.
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