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Britain and the United States have been severely
criticised by fellow members of the UN Security
Council for bombing Iraq. 
There were many bones of contention between the
world's strongest powers as they discussed the UN's
oil-for-food programme. The Council agreed to extend
the plan, with only minutes of the meeting to spare. 

It means Iraq will be able to sell oil in return for
food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies for
another six months. 

Other members of the Security Council, notably Russia,
are angry at the continuing sanctions, which they say
are making the people of Iraq suffer, and at the
ongoing bombing of Iraqi territory. 

'Who gave you permission?'

"I would very much like to know in what specific
Security Council resolution is the term 'no-fly zone'
actually used?" said Russian Ambassador to the UN,
Sergei Lavrov, who took the floor three times during
the debate. 

"In what specific resolution does it say that force
can be used over more than 60 percent of the Iraqi
territory from the air?" 

The two no-fly zones, covering the north and south of
Iraq, were instituted without reference to the UN by
the US, Britain and France after the 1991 Gulf War,
and then expanded, to the anger of France. 

'Suffering down to sanctions' 

At the meeting Britain and France successfully
appealed for a study on the humanitarian situation in
Iraq. But Russia and China said it was clear the
situation was desperate, and the causes were obvious. 

"We believe the humanitarian suffering of the Iraqi
civilians is mainly a consequence of the 10 years of
sanctions," said Chinese envoy Shen Guofang. 

The Security Council has been unable to repeal the
sanctions, because some Western nations, including
Britain and the US, have refused unless UN weapons
inspectors are allowed back into Iraq. They were
expelled by Saddam Hussein, amid suspicion that they
were spying for the US and Israel. 

The West counters the claims that sanctions are
responsible for poverty in Iraq, with evidence that
Saddam's regime deliberately diverts aid from the

Iraq Resource Information Site

American Intifada

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