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This is taken from the BBC's website: Friday, 9 June, 2000, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK UN to investigate Iraqi suffering The humanitarian situation in Iraq is now on the Security Council's agenda The United Nations Security Council has, for the first time, unanimously approved a far-reaching study of the humanitarian situation in Iraq. The council has also voted to extend for six months the Iraqi oil-for-food programme, which allows Baghdad to sell oil under UN supervision to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies. The council's approval of both measures was delayed until the last possible moment by an acrimonious debate over the impact of sanctions on the Iraqi people. Iraq has been under UN sanctions for 10 years since its invasion of Kuwait. China wanted the wording of the resolution on the humanitarian study to blame sanctions for civilian suffering; France and Russia have also been increasingly vocal in their criticism of sanctions as a policy tool. Responsibility However, Britain and the United States wanted to keep the language as neutral as possible, arguing that government policies and the effects of two wars were also responsible. The Dutch representative noted that Iraq had "inexplicably" rejected a Dutch aid shipment of dried milk recently, despite complaining of hardship. Although the Security Council has not previously undertaken a humanitarian study of Iraq, a report in 1997 by the UN children's fund, Unicef, said that children were bearing the brunt of Iraq's economic hardship. Unicef said that more than a million Iraqi children were malnourished and child mortality rates had soared since the imposition of sanctions. It blamed both the sanctions and Iraqi government policies. Clean water In its resolution late on Thursday, the council also added water and sanitation equipment to the list of supplies that can be imported without vetting, following repeated calls by the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, for Iraq to have improved access to clean water. The Security Council requires Iraq to account for its dangerous weapons programme before it will consider lifting the sanctions. Iraq has banned blocked further visits by UN arms inspectors since a punitive international bombing raid in 1998. Iraq has signalled that it will accept the extension of the oil-for-food programme but has not yet given its formal consent. On Thursday, it blamed sanctions for increases in the rate of cancer, birth defects, anaemia, hepatitis and other medical conditions. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi