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Iraq Letter-writing -- June

Hello again to all the Voices letter-writers.

Thankyou for all your feedback, and for keeping going through the Election,
despite the fact that it seems only tax and Europe have been on the agenda
for the last couple of months.

There may be some opportunities in the coming weeks to respond to press
coverage of so called "smart" sanctions currently being discussed in the
Security Council, and which are, predictably, not very smart at all.

This month's letter notes suggest that you ask your new/ re-elected MP to
table a parliamentary question. (If you have already seen this in the
current Voices nesletter, apologies for the duplication).

We have tried this before, but with some problems. Group member Richard
Greaves sent his MP some parliamentary questions suggested in the last
letter notes and newsletter. His MP, Pal Keetch (LD) replied that the PQs
couldn't be tabled because 'questions must not offer or seek expressions of
opinion, nor must a minister be asked to comment upon a report or rumour for
which (s)he has no responsibility'.

So, after congratulating your MP and perhaps lobbing in a few well chosen
anti-sanctions quotes (eg humanitarian panel, FAO etc) you may wish to ask
them to ask teh new Foreign Secretary one or more of the following PQs:

1) Re-inflating the economy

PQ: Is the government pursuing the goal of allowing the re-inflation of the
Iraqi economy? If not, why not?

You may like to make a number of points to your MP here, perhaps using
quotes from the last Voices newsletter/ Quotesheet/ CASI website.

2) Humanitarian Panel

PQ: Could the minister explain why the draft resolution on sanctions on Iraq
currently being discussed at the Security Council DOES NOT PERMIT local
purchasing of food for oil-for-food rations; DOES NOT REDUCE the proportion
of Iraqi oil revenues diverted to compensation payments; DOES NOT ALLOW
foreign companies responsibility for reconstruction and infrastructure
rehabilitiation; and DOES NOT PERMIT private foreign investment in the oil
and other industries?

These were recommendations of the report of the UN Security Council's
Humanitarian Panel, 31st March 1999, and not adopted in the draft

Report available at

3) Compensation

PQ: Could the minister explain why the reduction in Iraqi oil revenue
diverted to the Compensation Fund adopted in phase 9 of oil-for-food was not
continued in the draft resolution Britain has put before the Security

The proportion of revenue for the compensation fund was lowered from 30% to
25% in the last 6-month phase of oil-for-food. But in the supposedly humane
British 'smart sanctios' resolution, the percentage going to compensation
has risen back to 30%.

Send to your MP at

House of Commons,
London SW1A 0AA.

Thanks once again for all your efforts.

All the best,


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