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Secretary-General's report 2 March 2001

Dear all,
Secretary-General's latest report
Sevan's introduction

A) Summary of S-G report of 5 March 2001

B) Notes from Sevan's introductory statement

A) Summary of S-G report of 5 March 2001

Once again, lack of data on childhood malnutrition. Lots of emphasis on
holds. Some interesting technical stuff demonstrating US/UK lack of
humanitarian concern (commercial contract protection for OFF imports, for
example). Reiteration of Tun Myat's explanation for Iraqi under-ordering
recently (because of disarray caused by new law banning contracting through
intermediaries - in part because of lack of commercial contract protection
for OFF imports). Quite a few small positive gains of OFF reported. Perhaps
due to problems caused by Iraq imposing the surcharge, Iraq shipped much
less oil in the last few months, losing over $2bn worth of revenue.

1) Humanitarian Situation

South/central Iraq: 'While chronic malnutrition has decreased in urban
areas, it has increased in rural areas.' (para 6) Period under study not
clear, perhaps the lifetime of the programme 1997-2001.

'health conditions in Baghdad and throughout the country have improved
[since 1997] but remain precarious'. (para 7)

Over 75 per cent of school buildings 'considered to be in such a poor state
that they failed to provide a safe teaching and learning environment for
students and teachers'. (para 116)

A gender assessment of OFF in the north is being carried out this month.
(para 150)

2) Holds

Note: It is the position of Voices (and CASI, I believe) that the lifting of
holds by itself would not solve the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, and that a
sole focus on this issue does not advance the cause of ordinary people in
Iraq. However, the holds are of course important in indicating the moral
level of US/UK policy, and they have significant humanitarian costs.

The S-G reports holds on vaccines (para 87); on equipment needed to land
food at Umm Qasr (78, 79); on trains and train safety equipment (80); on
water treatment materials and lab supplies (98); on agriculture (holds have
more than doubled) (106); on irrigation and other agricultural goods (107,
147); on power generation supplies (112); on computers for education (120);
on telecommunications (123); on goods for the North! (39); on $10m worth of
items subsequently placed on the green list! (55).

This last is amazing. The director of OIP had to point out that there were
holds on contracts which were entirely composed of goods on the green lists.
This puts paid to the notion spread around by some UN officials that the
green lists have had no humanitarian impact and are simply a matter of
saving on photocopying.

The S-G regretted that the Sanctions Committee had not reviewed holds as
urged to do by the Security Council (159) and enlarged on his previous
recommendation that all sectors should have green lists. He now wants _all_
civilian goods except those on the 1051 weapons of mass destruction/dual-use
list to be put on pre-approved green lists (160).

He wants the Sanctions Committee to deal with applications in an
'expeditious manner' and to decrease 'drastically' the level of applications
placed on hold. (164) (About to get his wish, I would say...)

3) Dual-use: US rejects technical experts' view on dual-use goods

A bizarre bizarre bizarre turn of events.

There is a list of goods attached to UNSCR 1051 detailing what Iraq may not
have under dual-use/WMD considerations. Washington uses a wider definition
of 'dual use' meaning whatever it likes.

When it looks like a contract might contain material falling within the
ambit of 1051, it goes to 1051 technical experts who decide whether or not
it is in the list. They recently decided that items in 207 applications
(value $429m) did _not_ fall within the range of the 1051 list. That means
they were okay to import. The Sanctions Committee (ie the US, in my reading)
rejected their finding! A report on the revision and updating of the 1051
list will be circulated to the Security Council soon. (50)

4) Commercial protection

Over 1500 contracts have been rejected by Iraq on delivery for poor quality
etc. over the past year. (59) S-G says it is 'essential' to provide
legitimate commercial protection to Iraqi buyers of goods. And asks for
'highest priority' to protect the South/Central account (now 59 per cent)
'against commercial malpractice of occasional fraudulent practices'. (62)
Sanctions Committee has been dragging its feet on 'informal discussions' on
the matter - S-G refers to 'resumption, albeit with much delay' of these
talks. (62)

B) Notes from Sevan's introductory statement

1) Sevan reports that uncommitted funds in the UN escrow account as at 2
March 2001 were $2.865bn and E1.542bn (euros) which I believe is in the
order of $4.4bn. Contrary to lots of much larger claims made by the US and

2) 'Some items to be provided under applications placed on hold, such as the
kind of computers which are utlized in our offices in New York, are readily
available in the markets of Baghdad or elsewhere in Iraq. The same applies
to a variety of other items. In such cases, what in fact is being place on
hold is authorization to utilize funds under the escrow account to purchase
such items under the programme.'

3) Proposed green lists now 'thousands upon thousands of items under all the
sectors... except for telecommunications'.

4) MONITORING (v. important in my view)

'We have the capacity and the necessary monitoring and observation
mechanisms in place to monitor oil spare parts and humanitarian supplies
arriving in Iraq toprovide the assurances to the [Security] Council and its
[Sanctions] Commmittee that supplies arriving in Iraq under the programme
are indeed being utilized for authorized purposes.... In considering
applications for approval, the Committee should place more faith in our
observation capacity.'

Sevan hints that the Sanctions Committee makes requests for information
which 'may fall outside our purview'. Don't know what this means.

5) Sevan notes 'growing resentment' in Iraqi government regarding
discriminatory treatment of north, which has holds of only 0.027 per cent,
and has local contracting and cash component. Hence visas processed very
slowly for UN staff going north.

6) Sevan notes that Kurdish local authorities reject technical experts from
South/Central even when they are Kurds. And they even reject staff from the
other bits of Kurdistan - Dahuk and Erbil reject folk from Sulaymaniyah and
vice versa!


Milan Rai

Milan Rai
Joint Coordinator
Voices in the Wilderness UK
National Office
16B Cherwell St, Oxford OX4 1BG

Personal contact details
29 Gensing Road, St Leonards-on-sea TN38 0HE
ph 0845 458 9571 (local rate) pager 07623 746 462

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