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Thanks for the postings, Dirk. You noted and asked: > b) there are discussions, also on this list, about facts & figures of contracts on hold by the > Sanctions committee. And there are several sources that give us contradictory information. The > second article is an accusation of the Iraqi minister of Transport and Communications. This kind > of articles appear often in the Iraqi press. I don't see why they shouldn't be trusted. Or am I > wrong? This subject makes a good topic for a more profound discussion. In general, there is little publicly available information on the state of `oil for food' contracts. Holds that become problematic are occasionally mentioned in the Secretary-General's 90 and 180 day reports. New holds are often mentioned in the Office of the Iraq Programme's weekly updates (usually one of the first links at http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/). I would be careful about both the accuracy of claims and their interpretation. In this case, the statement seems plausible from accuracy's point of view: "telephones, vehicles for transport, constructing materials, spare parts, diggers, and boars for ports services" sound like the sort of things that are placed on hold. The Office of the Iraq Programme's most recent weekly update notes that: <begin quote> During the week, the Committee released from hold six contracts, worth $5.9 million, while placing on hold 53 new contracts, worth $139.9 million. The new “holds” included one high-value contract in the agriculture sector for water tankers, worth over $27 million, and five contracts, worth $35.4 million, for railway cargo cars and locomotive spare parts. <end quote> My sense is that, apart from statements about items "banned" under sanctions, claims about holds are often accurate in spite of the relative lack of transparency in this area. Let me illustrate the question of interpretation by example. The Iraqi government ordered ambulances some time ago. They were placed on hold, with the explanation that the vacuum flasks that they came equipped with were potential stores for biological material. Were these removed from the contract, the contract would be approved. They weren't for some time (I'm not sure what's finally happened with these): did this reflect bureaucratic inertia in Iraq or an active attempt to make a propaganda issue of this? I don't know. Best, Colin Rowat work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham | Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | (+44/0) 121 414 3754 | (+44/0) 121 414 7377 (fax) | email@example.com personal | (+44/0) 7768 056 984 (mobile) | (+44/0) 7092 378 517 (fax) | (707) 221 3672 (US fax) | firstname.lastname@example.org _________________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.