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Dear friends, Voices had spoken to some media folk and it seems highly likely that the new resolution will be out on Monday. VOICES WILL BE REPRISING ITS ROBIN COOK / PINOCCHIO ACTION WITH A 'SMART' SANCTIONS FOCUS THE DAY THE RESOLUTION COMES OUT. (for pictures from the original nose-in, including the very snazzy banner, see www.robincook.net). This demonstration will take place outside the FCO (on the Whitehall side) at 1pm. Robin Cook beards, 'Pinocchio' noses and placards will be provided. To co-ordinate this we're asking all those who think they *might* be able to make it to e-mail the voices office at email@example.com with a telephone contact number. I will then ring round people the morning the news breaks at around 9 - 10 am. Hopefully this will forestall folk turning up on the 'wrong' day. As this may well be our only media window for a while, folk might also want to gird themselves to fire off letters to the papers. I've included some useful quotes below. Three more pieces on the British proposal below (which also clear up the ambiguity in yesterday's NYT piece - relaxing the import embargo isn't conditional upon the weapons inspectors returning) plus an apparent admission from an anonymous British official that in the late '80's the British Government behaved in a manner that was 'no[t] sane.' Indeed, AFP quotes an anonymous British official as stating that 'There will be a range of items which will never be allowed into Iraq; there are some goods which no sane person would want Saddam Hussein to get his hands on.' According to British academic Mark Phythian ('Arming Iraq: How the US and Britain Secretly Built Saddam's War Machine'): '... between 1987 and the invasion of Kuwait, Iraq was able to receive an entire inventory of military and militarily useful equipment from the United Kingdom ... Iraq was sent items such as aircraft engines, equipment and parts; body armour; depleted uranium; ejection seats and spares; fast assault craft; helicopter engines; radar systems and equipment; an air defence simulator; armor vehicle spares; boats; CNC lathes; explosive detectors; explosives; gas respirators; naval spares; night vision equipment; pistols, rifles, and shotguns; plutonium; portable explosive detectors; and secure telephone systems and spares.' Sane or insane? I leave you to judge ... Best wishes, Gabriel voices uk *********************************************************** A. Some useful quotes OIL-FOR-FOOD AND THE ECONOMY * '... the humanitarian situation in Iraq will continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained revival of the Iraqi economy which in turn cannot be achieved solely through remedial humanitarian efforts’ (UN Humanitarian Panel Report, March 1999). [By retaining the oil-for-food framework, the British proposal prevents such a revival, basically continuing to run Iraq's economic life on the model of a refugee camp with 22 million inhabitants.] * Oil-for-food 'does not contain the elements of comprehensive planning and economic revival that we believe to be essential in order to reverse the dangerously degraded state of the country's civilian infrastructure and social services' (Human Rights Watch, January 2000). * 'An emergency commodity assistance program like oil-for-food, no matter how well funded or well run, cannot reverse the devastating consequences of war and then ten years of virtual shut-down of Iraq's economy.' (Human Rights Watch, August 2000) * Oil-for-food was ‘never intended ... to be a substitute for normal economic activity’ (UN Secretary-General's Report, March 2001), the absence of which ‘has given rise to the spread of deep-seated poverty’ (S-G Report, November 2000). THE INFRASTRUCTURE * 'The deterioration in Iraq's civilian infrastructure is so far reaching that it can only be reversed with extensive investment and development efforts.' (Human Rights Watch, Save the Children UK et. al. , August 2000). * 'Regardless of the improvements that might be brought about - in terms of approval procedures, better performance by the Iraqi Government, or funding levels - the magnitude of the humanitarian needs is such that they cannot be met within the context of [the oil-for-food programme] ... Nor was the programme intended to meet all the needs of the Iraqi people ... Given the present state of the infrastructure, the revenue required for its rehabilitation is far above the level available under the programme.' (UN Humanitarian Panel, March 1999). 'SMART' SANCTIONS The following quotes were in response to the 'smart' sanctions proposal mooted in February this year - a proposal very similar to the current one. * 'The British proposal of 'smart sanctions' offers and aspirin where sugery is called for' (The Economist, 24th February 2001) * 'What is proposed is not so much genuinely smart as an attempt to make sanctions appear smarter and more presentable' (Neil Partrick of the Royal United Services Institute, quoted in the Guardian, 26 February 2001). * 'It may be that all there will be is a change of presentation to re-focus domestic and international opinion on Saddam' (anonymous British official, quoted in the Daily Telegraph, 21 February 2001) * '... if Britain released all the contracts currently on hold, the situation would only revert to that of two years ago, a UN diplomat said. "So they would be curing a problem of their own making" As for the 'smart sanctions' Britain's partners have been told that these would also be in the framework of the oil-for-food humanitarian programme, in order to ensure that military items would be under strict control, while civilian goods would be waved through more expeditiously: "It sounds like they want to shake up the bureacracy. But it's like trying to shake up the Gosplan in the Soviet Union," one diplomat said.' ('Easing' of Iraqi sanctions will make little difference, says UN, The Independent, 21 February 2001) **************************************************** B. The 3 press articles: 1. UN Envoys Query Quick Adoption of New Iraqi Plans, Reuters 2. U.S. Switches Iraq Policy 3. British diplomat proposes abolishing UN embargo on non-military trade with Iraq, AFP **************************** Thursday May 17 4:01 PM ET UN Envoys Query Quick Adoption of New Iraqi Plans By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - China and other U.N. Security Council envoys raised doubts on Thursday whether a dramatic British-American offer to ease sanctions against Baghdad could be approved quickly. Iraq objects to any plan short of lifting the embargoed entirely. Diplomats expect intense negotiations among the five council powers with veto power -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- over the specifics on the new plan, such as a list of goods that would still be barred from Iraq. And France is known to be pushing for foreign investments, which the United States and Britain oppose. Britain, working with its American counterparts, is preparing to offer as early as Monday a draft Security Council resolution that would eliminate bans on civilian goods imported to Iraq but tighten controls on military-related materials. The aim is to get a vote in the 15-member council by May 31, before the next six-month phase of the U.N. humanitarian oil-for-food program begins on June 4. But the measure is not expected to contain details on how to stop smuggling at Iraq's borders as the United States wants, a risk in loosening restrictions without stepping up controls. A British official conceded on Wednesday ``the neighboring states are very worried about economic retribution from Iraq.'' To go into force, the resolution would need a list of military-related items banned as well as new procedures that drop much of the current methods of approving Iraqi goods. China's deputy representative, Shen Guofang, told reporters he hoped the oil-for-food program would be rolled over on the same terms and then followed by a separate resolution. The new proposals ``contain a lot of detailed things and complicated elements. We hope it will be separate,'' Shen said. France, diplomats said, is expected to advocate relaxed restrictions on foreign investment, now limited to helping Iraq upgrade its oil industry. ``For France, freeing the economy means foreign help in goods and services,'' one envoy said. Russia, excepted to take the toughest position, appeared unimpressed by the proposals. ``There are too many unclear points in the proposals and questions, to which we have not got answers in the course of preliminary consultations,'' Sergei Ordzhonikidze, a deputy foreign minister, said in Moscow, according to the Interfax news agency. Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States are permanent members of the Security Council with veto power. Baghdad, wants sanctions lifted entirely or a de facto withering away of the embargoes, which were imposed in August 1990 after its troops invaded Kuwait. For Iraq, any move to tighten or liberalize the sanctions appears to be putting another regime in place to keep the embargoes going for years to come. A Thursday editorial in al-Thawra, mouthpiece of the ruling Ba'ath Party, said alleged ``smart sanctions aim to strengthen the embargo imposed on Iraq for more than 10 years and is a plan to avoid world criticism.'' Iraq has been under blanket trade sanctions since it invaded Kuwait, except for humanitarian supplies, with an increasing amount of civilian goods allowed in over the past several years. To ease the impact of the sanctions on ordinary Iraqis, an oil-for-food deal began in late 1996. This allows Iraq to sell unlimited amounts of oil, with proceeds put in a U.N. escrow account. The funds are then used to buy goods Baghdad orders. Currently, food and medicine as well as such items as bricks and educational materials, are allowed to reach Iraq without being approved by the council's sanctions committee. Under the new plan, other supplies from bicycles to sewing machines can be imported without the committee's consent. But the draft resolution would maintain the existing escrow account into which Iraqi oil revenues are deposited. The United Nations then pays suppliers of goods Iraq orders. ``In essence, we are ending sanctions on ordinary civilian imports and replacing it with a very tightly focused control regime,'' said the British official briefing reporters. ``If our proposals are adopted, Iraq will have no excuse for the suffering of the Iraqi people.'' To get sanctions suspended entirely, Iraq has to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors to make sure it no longer has programs for weapons of mass destruction. Baghdad has refused to allow inspectors to return since the December 1998 bombing raids by the United States and Britain. The new British draft is separate from inspection demands, contained in December 1999 resolution that Iraq rejects. ******************************************************** Thursday May 17 6:37 PM ET U.S. Switches Iraq Policy By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States is abandoning an unpopular 11-year campaign to deny Iraq consumer goods in the hope that the plight of the Iraqi people would cause them to turn against President Saddam Hussein. Lining up with Britain, which stood virtually alone with the United States on maintaining harsher sanctions, the Bush administration also is urging tighter controls on export to Iraq of arms and weapons-related items. The policy shift took four months to crystallize as Secretary of State Colin Powell vied with the Pentagon and other sectors of the administration over imported items with potential application to Iraq's military. Even now, as American diplomats consult with other governments on a prospective U.N. resolution to be introduced next week to lift the economic sanctions, administration officials are debating privately which so-called dual-use items to ban and which to approve for export to Iraq, a senior U.S. official told The Associated Press. ``We're working toward what will be a significant change in our approach to Iraq in the United Nations,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday. ``The focus is on strengthening controls to prevent Iraq from rebuilding military capability in weapons of mass destruction while facilitating a broader flow of goods to the civilian population of Iraq.'' Powell is inclined to take a lenient view of such items as water pumps and refrigerated trucks, which theoretically could be used for military purposes but are much more likely to lessen the pain of the Iraqi people. A list is being compiled of items that would remain off-limits to Iraq, their value and their use. At the same time, American diplomats are resisting efforts by other governments to go further in the direction of leniency. The U.N. sanctions on weapons and consumer goods were imposed as part of a U.S.-led drive to reverse Iraq's annexation of Kuwait in 1990. Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War, which liberated Kuwait but left Saddam in power. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, who is in charge of international organizations and oversees U.S. diplomacy at the United Nations, is ending a trip to Europe, where he consulted with French, Belgian and other officials on the resolution to lift sanctions due to be introduced next week. British officials have said they received positive responses to the proposal from, among others, France, China and Russia, besides the United States and Britain the only members of the U.N. Security Council with veto power. To varying degrees, all three have opposed the current sanctions. In Moscow, Russia's deputy foreign minister said too little is known about the new proposal to determine his country's position now. ``It is clearly premature,'' Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ordzhonikidze told the Interfax news agency and said it does not resolve political problems Russia insists be settled. Boucher said the proposal ``obviously will be a subject'' of discussion between Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Powell when the Russian visits Friday, seeing both the secretary of state and President Bush. For Powell, who is inclined to take a more moderate course in foreign policy and security than Bush's harder-line advisers, the policy shift reflects both his own instincts and advice offered by Arab and other governments. ``The point is to work together to help the Iraqi people at the same time as we control the ability of the regime in Baghdad to develop weapons of mass destruction,'' the State Department's Boucher said. The plan would not require Iraq to let international arms inspections to resume before consumer sanctions could be lifted, Boucher said. ``That was never part of the picture,'' he said. On the other hand, Boucher said, to get all sanctions removed Iraq must let the inspectors return. They have been excluded for 21/2 years. ********************************************************************* Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP) Date: 16 May 2001 British diplomat proposes abolishing UN embargo on non-military trade with Iraq by Robert Holloway UNITED NATIONS, May 16 (AFP) - Britain has circulated proposals to other members of the Security Council to end the 10-year-old UN embargo on trade with Iraq for all non-military goods, a British diplomat said Wednesday. He said the aim was to "return to the core objective" of preventing Iraqi rearmament after its defeat in the 1991 Gulf War, while depriving Baghdad of the opportunity to blame sanctions for the suffering of its people. But he said the proposals did not replace "the comprehensive framework of Resolution 1284," which insisted that Iraq allow UN arms inspectors to return but offered the possibility of suspending sanctions if it cooperates with them. The inspectors left Iraq in December 1998 on the eve of a bombing campaign by US and British aircraft, and Iraq has said it will not allow them back in. The diplomat, who asked not to be identified, said he hoped the proposals would be included in a draft resolution for adoption by the council before June 3, when the current 180-day phase of the Iraq oil-for-food programme expires. The programme has since December 1996 enabled Iraq to export crude oil under UN supervision, using part of the revenue to import basic necessities approved by the council's sanctions committee. The programme was designed to alleviate the sufferings of the Iraqi people, whose standard of living has collapsed since sanctions were imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990 and occupied the emirate for seven months. If the council accepts the British proposals, it will mean an end to much of the "cumbersome bureaucracy" in the oil-for-food programme, the diplomat said. "Until now, nothing has been allowed into Iraq except contracts approved by the sanctions committee," he said. "We are going to change that, and allow in everything except a range of goods related to conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction." Import contracts would be checked against a list of prohibited goods being compiled by the arms inspectorate UNMOVIC (for UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he said. He said the new list would be more detailed and more precise than ones in current use and would be based in part on the July 1996 Wassenaar arrangement, signed by 33 countries and covering conventional weapons and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies. If an import contract contained no listed items, it would be allowed to go ahead, but if some items were on the list, the sanctions committee could do one of three things, the diplomat said. Possible options would be to reject the contract outright; to insist on deleting objectionable items; or to use officials with the oil-for-food programme in Iraq to monitor the use of the goods to ensure they were not being used for military purposes, he said. "There will be a range of items which will never be allowed into Iraq; there are some goods which no sane person would want Saddam Hussein to get his hands on," he added. But, he said, the proposals would mean an end to the highly controversial practice of putting "holds" on contracts by the sanctions committee. At present, 3.7 billion dollars worth of contracts have been blocked, almost all of them by Britain or the United States. This more than any other aspect of the oil-for-food programme has driven a deep wedge between these two and the three other permanent Security Council members: China, France and Russia. The five are also divided over the scope of an air embargo contained in the original sanctions resolution, and the diplomat said the draft resolution would probably lift the ban, provided means were in place to verify that Iraq could not import banned goods. "We don't have a philosophical objection to commercial flights going to Iraq; the issue for us is not trade but inspection," he said. He said the financial mechanism which gives the UN complete control of Iraq's oil revenues and allocates part of that money to compensating Kuwait for war damage, would remain intact. rh/jlp AFP Copyright (c) 2001 Agence France-Presse Received by NewsEdge Insight: 05/16/2001 18:11:44 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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