The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

WP: "U.N. Chief Faults U.S., Britain for Iraqi Supply Delays"

News of Secretary General Kofi Annan's upcoming report continues to leak
into the press.   Annan's statements in the first article, below, directly
contradict recent State Department claims (supposedly citing UN reports)
that humanitarian contract holds have had "minimal impact".   A caveat
concering the second article (from Reuters), which  contains a greviously
misleading statement: "Under the terms of the ``oil-for-food'' scheme, begun
in December 1996, Iraq is allowed to sell unlimited quantities of oil ...".
This ignores the entire history of the miserly pre-SCR1284 OFF revenue caps.


U.N. Chief Faults U.S., Britain for Iraqi Supply Delays
By Colum Lynch
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, March 14, 2000; Page A14 

UNITED NATIONS, March 13-In the draft of a report to be delivered to the
U.N. Security Council this week, Secretary General Kofi Annan chides the
United States and Britain for holding up more than $1.5 billion of
humanitarian supplies for Iraq and calls for doubling the amount of money
that Iraq is allowed to spend on its oil industry.

The U.N.'s effort to ease the suffering of Iraq's 20 million people "has
suffered considerably" as result of "holds" placed by the United States and
Britain on numerous contracts in the oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq
to sell oil and use the proceeds to buy humanitarian supplies under strict
U.N. supervision, Annan wrote.

The secretary general's 64-page assessment of Iraq's humanitarian needs also
renews his previous request for the Security Council to allow Iraq to double
the $300 million it spends every six months on repairs and spare parts in
its oil sector, which he said would ensure that oil keeps flowing and
providing revenue for food, medicine and the like.

"I am very much concerned with the deteriorating condition of the oil
industry of Iraq," wrote Annan, who sent a team of experts in January to
inspect Baghdad's petroleum fields, pipelines and refineries. The team
concluded that "the ability of the Iraqi oil industry to sustain current
reduced production levels will be seriously compromised unless effective
action is taken immediately," according to Annan's report.

While the report directs its strongest criticism at the Security Council,
where the United States frequently exercises its veto power, Annan also
faulted President Saddam Hussein's government for spending too little of the
money from oil sales on food for the population. He appealed to Baghdad to
increase its daily food rations, improve the delivery of drugs for chronic
illnesses, and establish supplementary feeding programs for those at high

Since the oil-for-food deal was negotiated in 1996, the Security Council has
approved $9.3 billion worth of humanitarian purchases by Iraq. All of those
contracts are exemptions to the international trade sanctions imposed on
Iraq after its troops invaded Kuwait in 1990, sparking the Persian Gulf War.

Annan's report comes less than a month after two senior U.N. humanitarian
officials based in Baghdad resigned in protest over the devastating impact
of the sanctions on ordinary Iraqis. It adds to the mounting pressure on the
United States from some of its closest allies, including Britain and France,
to demonstrate greater flexibility in approving contracts.

The Clinton administration recently began an internal review of its policy
in an effort to accelerate the approval of equipment that is used for
legitimate purposes. But U.S. officials say their goal has been to block
items with potential military use, particularly in the development of
nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. They charged that Saddam Hussein
has spent the earnings from smuggled oil on palaces, liquor and luxuries for
himself and his cronies.

"About 85 to 90 percent of contracts get approved by the sanctions
committee," a U.S. official said. "The only things that don't get through
are the things that the Iraqis can use to make weapons."

Annan reported that Iraq's oil, electricity, sanitation, transport and
telecommunications sectors have been most severely harmed by the Security
Council's foot-dragging. But he added that the council's sluggish approval
of "dual use" contracts for forklifts, harbor dredges and other equipment
required to repair Iraqi port facilities has hampered the U.N.'s ability to
deliver food. 

"Poor port conditions continue to contribute to a slow and inefficient
offloading of necessary food basket items," he said. "Outdated damaged
equipment such as forklifts continues to jeopardize the safety and
well-being of port personnel." 


March 14, 2000

Annan Says U.N. Looking for 'Smarter Sanctions'

Filed at 7:36 a.m. ET

By Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan acknowledged Tuesday
that sanctions against Baghdad had hurt Iraqi civilians and said the United
Nations was looking at moving toward deploying ``smarter sanctions.'' 

But Annan, speaking in London after talks with British Foreign Secretary
Robin Cook, also called on Iraq to fully implement U.N. Security Council
resolutions which would suspend sanctions if Iraq made progress toward

``This does not mean that I do not accept that to some extent the sanctions
have hurt the Iraqi population,'' Annan said. The Security Council had tried
to address those concerns when it allowed Iraq to sell oil to buy
humanitarian goods, he said. 

``There's been a lot of discussion in the United Nations generally that as
we move into the future we should be looking at smarter sanctions that focus
on the individuals whose behavior we want to target rather than a blunt
instrument that may affect the entire population,'' Annan said. 

``But I assure you we are doing everything to improve the lot of the Iraqi

In a report to the council Annan said Tuesday the funds allocated under the
``oil-for-food program'' for Iraq to buy equipment for its dilapidated oil
industry should be doubled. 

He also called for more funds to be spent on health needs and chastised the
Iraqi government for poor planning, saying its local health information
systems ``remain largely ineffective in identifying priority requirements.''

Under the terms of the ``oil-for-food'' scheme, begun in December 1996, Iraq
is allowed to sell unlimited quantities of oil to buy food, medicine and
other goods -- an exception to sweeping sanctions imposed in 1990 after it
invaded Kuwait. 

Baghdad, which says the sanctions have killed more than a million people in
the last decade, has frequently complained that the program does not meet
its needs and accuses the United States and Britain of obstructing its

Washington says the Iraqi government could do far more to help its own

``I would hope some items on hold (in the sanctions committee) will be
reviewed so we can move ahead with the purchase of spare parts and render
the oil industry equally efficient,'' Annan said. 

This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]