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Dear List, as it seems that the UNSC isprobably voting voting today on the US_UK_Proposal tolift sanctions, I would like to remind you of Kurdish grievances with the United Nations program for Iraq. Alexander ________________________________________ UN Oil-for-Food Program: Iraqi Kurds ask for reform and accountability Kurdistan Regional Government (UN Liaison Office) May 16, 2003 Press Statement New York - Thanks to the resolute and courageous leadership of President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, Iraq has now been completely liberated. As a result, on April 16, 2003, President George W. Bush called on the UN to lift economic sanctions against Iraq. The draft US-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) would replace UN oversight of Iraq's oil revenues with an internationally supervised Iraqi Assistance Fund (IAF). The leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan welcomes this proposal. We believe that the principle of international control of Iraqi oil revenues and supervision of the spending of these revenues in a transparent and accountable manner should be preserved to prevent the corruption and human rights violations that plague oil-dependent, Middle Eastern countries. While welcoming the US proposals, we are concerned that they fail to address the issue of billions of unspent dollars in UN controlled accounts, nominally allocated to three Iraqi Kurdish provinces. Thanks to obstruction by Saddam's regime, unspent money for the Iraqi Kurds totals in excess of $2.5bn and could even be double that figure. Under UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 986, 13% of Iraqi oil revenues are reserved for three Kurdish provinces. These provinces are desperately poor. The unspent funds are needed to cope with the ongoing reconstruction following the genocidal Anfal campaign of 1987-88. The Kurdish provinces contain around 800,000 internally displaced persons, roughly a quarter of the total population, and victims of ethnic cleansing by the Iraqi regime that continued until late March 2003. Basic infrastructure available elsewhere in Iraq still needs to be built for the Kurds. The US-sponsored draft fails to specify that the IAF will operate on the same basis as UNSCR 986, with a separate account for the Kurdish provinces. The international community recognized the right of Iraqi Kurds to their legitimate share of Iraqi oil revenues with UNSCR 986. It would be a strange and retrograde step for a US-sponsored resolution to roll back the rights of Iraq's most brutalized citizens. Under UNSCR 1472, the UN Secretary-General can divert unspent funds from the Kurdish 13% account for short-term humanitarian relief. UNSCR 1472 specified that the diversion of funds would be on an “exceptional and reimbursable basis”. The Iraqi Kurds do not object to providing relief to their fellow Iraqis from the 13% account-quite the contrary. Regrettably, the US-sponsored draft resolution does not affirm the crucial principle that such monies should only be used exceptionally and should be reimbursed. Again, it would be odd if a resolution sponsored by the liberators of Iraq were to leave their main Iraqi allies, the Kurds, worse off. _______________________________________ Background: UNSCR 986 “Oil for Food” program Kurdistan Regional Government UN Liaison Office May 16, 2003 Iraqi oil is sold under UN control. The proceeds are then broken down and used in the following manner: 72% of Iraqi oil export proceeds fund the humanitarian program and is broken down into 59% for the contracting and supplies of equipment by the then government for 15 central and southern mainly Arab-inhabited provinces. The remaining 13% is allocated to three northern, mostly Kurdish, provinces; the balance of proceeds is spent as follows: 25% percent for the Compensation Fund for Gulf War reparation payments (the U.N. Compensation Commission); 2.5% for U.N. administrative and operational costs of the Oil-for Food program; 0.8% for the weapons inspection costs. Why is so much money for the Kurds unspent? The UN allowed Saddam's regime to hold up as the building and equipping of hospitals, water and sanitation projects, agricultural development, educational services, provision of electricity and the removal of landmines. Saddam's regime refused to grant entry visas to qualified staff and declined import permits for necessary equipment. The Iraqi regime, with tacit UN approval, engaged in a campaign to exclude qualified staff from the US and UK. Additionally, not a single Kurd was employed as member of the international staff of the Oil-for-Food program Instead, with the staff was deliberately selected from Arab states, to be used as couriers for information to the Iraqi secret police. These workers also impeded UN projects. In July 2001, Kurdish police caught a Tunisian national working for the UN with explosives in his car. The man was handed over to the UN. Mismanagement and incompetence also held up projects The Kurdish city of Sulaimani, with a population of over 600,000, is still waiting for a 400-bed hospital to be built five years after funds were allocated for it. Kurdish success with Oil-for-Food The Kurdish provinces are an example of the program's success when a cooperative local partner is available, in contrast to the way the Saddam regime manipulated Oil-for-Food to its own benefit. Despite being poorer, the Kurdish provinces experienced a dramatic decline in the child mortality rate, while in Saddam's Iraq it was claimed that the infant mortality rate increased dramatically. The failure of the Oil-for-Food program outside of the Kurdish areas was a consequence of a deliberate program of subversion by Saddam Hussein. Saddam and his sons siphoned off significant funds from the Oil-for-Food program. As General Tommy Franks remarked when in Baghdad, it was more of an “oil for palace” program. Any reformed UN Oil-for-Food program or the IAF program should examine the Kurdish experience. Allocating 13% to the three Kurdish provinces was an act of justice The decision to specifically allocate revenues to the three Kurdish provinces a just and innovative method of revenue sharing among the citizens of Iraq, designed to provide the humanitarian and reconstruction needs of the Kurdish region, which had been subjected to decades of political and economic discrimination as well as a brutal campaign of genocide, the infamous Anfal of 1987-1988 and close to 40 years of ethnic cleansing. UN indifference The Iraqi Kurds have made repeated representations to the UN about the management of the Oil-for-Food program. On February 10, 2003 Iraqi Kurdish leaders, Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani, wrote to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss UN plans to allow the unspent cash allocated to the Iraqi Kurds to be used for short-term humanitarian relief resulting from the approaching allied invasion of Iraq. We regret that the UN failed to respond to the Iraqi Kurdish leaders' letter. New York May 16, 2003 For further information contact: Howar Ziad Kurdistan Regional Government UN Liaison Office, Tel: 212-581-9525, E-mail: KurdistanUN@msn.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk