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With the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful May 4, 2000 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 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 stated. 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 sanctions as a tool of foreign policy. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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