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RE: Pesticides, WFP and helicopters--help

> I don't know if you are aware of any information related to WFP and the
> use of pesticide's in Northern Iraq.  I vaguely remember something about
> there being a stand off between GOI and the UN over using helicopter's
> to spray pesticides in Iraq. Does this sound familiar at all? Does anyone
> have any information on this for the North separately as well as for the
> Centre/South of the country?

Hi Deirdre,

I'm writing in response to your posting of last Thursday; I hope that it's
not too late.  I have a similar memory to yours but don't yet think that
I've found what I'm looking for.  Here are some recent articles on this
(note - it's the FAO that's been spraying in the no-fly zones; they have a
description from mid-1997, I think, at

(*) (7/jan/2002) Iraq needs vaccines, crop planes - U.N. official (Reuters)

"Iraq is in need of new crop-dusting planes or the provision of spare parts
for the three helicopters Iraq currently has," the agency quoted Amir
Khalil, FAO's representative in Iraq, as saying.

I've attached this article below.

(*) (20/sept/2001) - UN
sanctions committee bans Iraq from importing helicopters for agricultural

(*) (29/may/2000) U.N. frees $143 million in farm equipment for Iraq

[FAO head] Khalil said the approved contracts included spare parts to repair
a fleet of helicopters used by the FAO and Iraq to spray crop pests. ``About
20 helicopters will be sent to Russia, rehabilitated and sent back to
Baghdad,'' he said.

(*) (2/apr/1998) -
U.N. To Allow Iraq To Import Parts

Mentions helicopters that have crashed; implication - missing parts?  Flown
by Poles in no-fly zones.

(*) (5/feb/1996) - IRAQ SANCTIONS

UN press release noting that the Sanctions Committee has deferred a FAO
request to import helicopter spare parts.

I'm not yet entirely convinced that I've found what I'm looking for as I
have a vague recollection of visas problems.  I am wondering whether the
Iraqi government claimed that its pilots should be flying the helicopters,
and withheld visas from the UN's foreign pilots.  Was there a compromise in
which Iraqi and non-Iraqi pilots were allowed to fly together?

Finally, I've checked through the Secretary-General's 'oil for food' reports
back a couple of years, but can't find mentions of helicopters.

I hope that this helps; I still think that something's missing, though.


Colin Rowat

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Iraq needs vaccines, crop planes - U.N. official.

BAGHDAD, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organisation said on Monday Iraq urgently needed vaccines to
combat livestock diseases and spare parts for crop-dusting
aircraft, the official Iraqi News Agency said.

"Iraq is in need of new crop-dusting planes or the provision of
spare parts for the three helicopters Iraq currently has," the
agency quoted Amir Khalil, FAO's representative in Iraq, as

Khalil said Iraq had had 27 helicopters before 1990, the year it
invaded Kuwait, provoking crippling economic sanctions by the
United Nations and a U.S.-led war in 1991.

He said the number of supply contracts blocked by sanctions
had reached 231 by the end of 2001, with a total value of more
than $580 million.

Contracts on hold included 24 for livestock, 51 for the irrigation
sector and 133 for spare parts and machinery.
"FAO's office in Baghdad has provided all the necessary
information on the nature of the contracts and explained the dire
need for them to expedite their approval by the 661 (U.N.
sanctions) Committee," Khalil said.

The U.N. committee, comprising representatives of all 15
Security Council members, has to vet all contracts for the supply
of goods to Iraq under the oil-for-food deal, which is intended to
alleviate the effect of sanctions on the civilian population.

Last May Iraqi helicopters manned by Iraqi pilots sprayed
pesticide in Basra province 600 km (375 miles) south of
Baghdad and in Nineveh province 450 km (270 miles) north of
the capital, both in U.S.-imposed flight exclusion zones, for the
first time since the 1991 Gulf War.

Spraying flights in the no-fly zones have been undertaken since
1991 by the Rome-based FAO, which used to supply spare parts
for Iraqi helicopters and contracted non-Iraqi pilots.

Aerial spraying operations, which cover an area of around 1.8
billion square metres a year in southern and northern Iraq, take
place from March to August on rainfed wheat and barley, date
palms and sugar cane.

The pests combated are sunpest, humaira, and dubas that
infect date palms, desert locust, corn stem borers that hit cotton,
rice weeds and blast and wheat weeds.

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