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December 1: 2000  was the first anniversary of UN Resolution  1284, which
was offered by the security council as a step towards resolving outstanding
disarmament and arms-monitoring issues as a precondition for the 
of comprehensive economic sanctions against Iraq.
As many feared, including myself, this resolution was. a still?born creation
[for  which] the people of Iraq continue to pay dearly, and daily. The
European public is increasingly unwilling to accept such a policy.
There is deep concern, because of the suffering of innocent civilians and
the irrefutable evidence of violations of international law by the security
Without a transparent political agenda ... I do not see an end to this
costly human tragedy. ? Your speech of November 7 at Chatham House 
has not
helped. Let me single out your main points:

?' Our air crews risk their lives patrolling the skies above southern Iraq'
The public does not know that you do this without a mandate from the
security council. It is in your hands to stop endangering your pilots by
withdrawing them. It angered your office that I introduced reporting of air
strikes for 1999. I did so as the UN secretary general's official for
security, because of the dangers [faced by] UN observers on the roads of
Iraq. The report showed that out of 132 [air strikes], UN staff. witnessed
The public does not know that in the "no-fly zones" you .established
protect the population, 144 civilians have died and 446 have been wounded 
UK/US air forces. The Foreign office classified these reports as "Iraqi
propaganda with a UN imprimatur"; even though much of it was collected 
verified by UN staff.

?' Our sailors are involved in activities to curb the illegal export of
Iraqi oil.'   You are silent about the UK-condoned export of illegal oil
from Iraq into Turkey Your silence is understandable... [Anglo?US]
concurrence in this illegal export is in exchange for Turkish government
agreement to the use of Incirlik airbase for allied sorties into the
northern no-fly zone.

?."I  firmly believe that [Saddam Hussein] remains determined to develop
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capacity." You  offer no evidence.
What I "firmly believe" is that you want to keep a picture of Iraq
even though it no longer reflects the realities.
This is not surprising. Without it the case for sanctions would be over.

?.The resolution "represents the collective will of the security council
has the full force of international law."   You know how deceptive this
assertion is. Three out of five permanent [security council] members and
Malaysia did not support this resolution.  You are aware, no doubt, of the
increasing numbers of serious objections by international legal experts to
the continued application of these laws. The evidence is overwhelming that
these "acts" have become illegal.

?"Resolution 128 removed the ceiling on the amount of oil Iraq is allowed
export." This is a political ploy. Your government knows well from annual
reports on the state of the Iraqi oil industry that it cannot pump more oil
unless the security council allows a complete overhaul of the industry.
You mention recent increases in production. Why, when you know that Iraqi
oil output has not risen at all...?

?"With this large amount of revenue available, one cannot help but ask why
we still see pictures of malnourished and sick children?" Unicef has
repeatedly pointed out that such a reality is only going to change with a
normal functioning economy. More often than not, it is the blocking of
contracts by the US/UK which has created  huge problems in implementing 
oil-for-food programme. The present volume of blocked items amounts to
$2.3bn, the highest ever.

? "It is an outrage that the Iraqi government wilfully denies food and
medicine..." Please forgive me if I say that it is an outrage that against
your better knowledge you repeat truly fabricated and self-serving
disinformation. Why do you ignore UN stock reports which give you the
monthly distribution situation and which, verified by UN observers, show for
food, medicines and other humanitarian supplies an average of over 90%
distributed per month.

? "There are those who are undermining sanctions and challenging UN
authority." Yes, this is true, and it includes me. Do accept that I do so
with the utmost discomfort. I am fully aware that this weakens the very
machinery set up to deal with conflicts like this one. However, I see no
alternative when the fundamentals of human rights and international law are
applied in a biased and lopsided manner.

Hans von Sponeck, former humanitarian coordinator for Iraq

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