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October 6, 2000 The Honorable C. David Welch Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Department of State 2201 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20520 Dear Assistant Secretary Welch, I am writing to express my grave concern over current U.S.-Iraq policy. In particular, my concern over the great number of contract "holds" currently in place at the UN Sanctions Committee. I realize that we may disagree on the sensibility of sanctions policy in general, but I am sure we can agree on the tragic scope of Iraq's ongoing humanitarian crisis and the necessity of doing what we can to help alleviate this crisis. In May, after returning from Iraq, my colleague Representative Tony Hall wrote a letter to Secretary Albright advising several policy changes in the operation of the Sanctions Committee. I know that other members of Congress have also asked Secretary Albright to advocate for a cash component to the Oil-for-Food program as well as to address problems with water and sanitation in Iraq, and to institute a line-item veto in contract review. While I realize that there has been some improvements in this process over the last several months, I feel that they have been insufficient. After reviewing the record of the Sanctions Committee, I am appalled to note that as of May 31, 2000 (the most recent data available) over 1,000 contract requests remain on hold, totaling $1,640,000,000 worth of supplies. Furthermore, of the contracts already approved, only 49% have actually arrived in Iraq. In the critically important water and sanitation sector, only 16% of those contracts already approved have actually arrived. This is fundamentally unacceptable. To help me further understand this process I would greatly appreciate it if your office could provide me with a list of current contracts on hold. Additionally, it would be very helpful if you could provide which items within the contracts that are prompting the holds, the reasons for why these items are of concern, and your estimation of when these holds will be resolved. I greatly appreciate your help in these matters, and look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me or my staff if you have any questions or concerns. I am very interested in this issue, and would greatly appreciate continued information. Sincerely, Jim McDermott Member of Congress Cc: Samuel R. Berger Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs National Security Council Old Executive Building Washington, DC 20503 Ambassador Richard Holbrooke U.S. Mission to the United Nations 799 United Nations Plaza New York, NY 10017-3505 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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://www.casi.org.uk