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Following is Benon Sevan's clearest statement yet on how the impact of Committee 661 contractual holds is amplified due to the complimentarity of goods: "... (holds) accounted for just 10 percent of the total processed but the nature of the goods required made them essential to the whole operation, (Sevan) said. 'You can't distribute supplies if you don't have trucks,'' Sevan said." === <http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters08-15-015627.asp?reg=MIDEAST> U.N. official wants new approach to Iraq programme REUTERS BAGHDAD, Aug. 15 - A senior United Nations official called on Tuesday for a new approach to overcome obstacles hindering a U.N. humanitarian programme in Iraq. Benon Sevan, executive director of the Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP), said an ''excessive'' number of holds by Security Council Sanctions Committee 661 on purchasing contracts was seriously hindering the oil-for-food programme. ''There is an urgent need...to look into the implementation of the programme with a fresh look, with a fresh approach and flexibility,'' Sevan told a news conference in Baghdad. ''Without breaking rules and procedures, I think we can use the rules more credibly...there is room for improvement in the behaviour and performance by all parties,'' he said. ''There has to be a concerted effort to move forward.'' The OIP is in charge of Iraq's oil-for-food deal with the United Nations. The programme, which went into effect in December 1996, allows Baghdad to sell unlimited quantities of oil over six months to buy food, medicine and other essential needs for the Iraqi people. Iraq has been under economic sanctions since it invaded Kuwait in 1990. CONTRACTS WORTH $1.7 BILLION ON HOLD Sevan said that contracts worth $1.7 billion were on hold. They concerned materials for electricity, telecommunications, transport and water and sanitation. These contracts accounted for just 10 percent of the total processed but the nature of the goods required made them essential to the whole operation, he said. ''You can't distribute supplies if you don't have trucks,'' Sevan said. He said the ratio of holds in the oil industry, the ''bloodline'' of the whole programme, stood at 21 percent of applications. The holds on crucial spare parts were threatening the country's oil industry, Sevan said. ''Iraq is producing and exporting oil at a very high price...as it is damaging its wells, some of them irrevocably,'' he said. A senior Iraqi Oil Ministry official said last week that unless spare parts were approved soon Iraq would have to cut its production level, currently 3.1 million barrels per day. Asked what could be done to improve the implementation, Sevan said sanctions committee 661 must remove inconsistencies in its holds policy for a start and Iraq must choose contractors more carefully. He said his team must also adjust and improve its observation role in areas under Iraqi control. ''FRUITFUL AND CORDIAL'' TALKS The U.N. official, who leaves Iraq on Wednesday, said he held ''very fruitful and cordial'' talks during his two-week visit with Iraqi officials including Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan and ministers. Sevan said under the deal Baghdad had sold oil worth $30.5 billion. About $20 billion of that amount was allocated for relief goods for the Iraqi people. The rest goes to a U.N. fund that compensates victims of the 1991 Gulf War and covers the cost of Sevan's 600 staff and those of U.N. weapons inspection bodies. Iraqi officials and the press have complained about the sluggish arrival of goods purchased under the humanitarian programme, saying it has done little to offset the suffering of Iraqis caused by the crippling embargoes. Sevan said around $8.35 billion worth of supplies had arrived in Iraq. Some $4.2 billion of goods are on the way. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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