News


DATE=4/20/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-229948
TITLE= IRAQ/BRITAIN (L-ONLY)  
BYLINE= ANDRE DE NESNERA
DATELINE= LONDON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO: A TWO-DAY CONFERENCE FOCUSING ON THE UNITED NATIONS 
OIL-FOR-FOOD DEAL IN IRAQ HAS OPENED IN LONDON (EDS: MONDAY).  
BUT AS V-O-A CORRESPONDENT ANDRE DE NESNERA REPORTS, CRITICS 
BELIEVE THE EVENT IS NOTHING MORE THAN WHAT THEY CALL A "TALKING 
SHOP." (EDS: TALK--NO ACTION)

TEXT:  THE TWO-DAY EVENT BRINGS TOGETHER SENIOR EXPERTS FROM THE 
EUROPEAN UNION AND OTHER COUNTRIES, AS WELL AS OFFICIALS FROM 
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS WORKING IN THE ARAB COUNTRY AND 
THE UNITED NATIONS -- WHICH RUNS THE "OIL-FOR-FOOD" PROGRAM.

BRITISH OFFICIALS SAY THEIR GOVERNMENT WILL EXPRESS ITS CONCERN 
ABOUT THE PLIGHT OF THE IRAQIS HIT HARD BY ECONOMIC SANCTIONS 
IMPOSED BY THE U-N SECURITY COUNCIL FOLLOWING BAGHDAD'S 1990 
INVASION OF KUWAIT.  BRITISH OFFICIALS ALSO SAY THE FORUM WILL 
PROVIDE PARTICIPANTS A CHANCE TO RECOMMEND WAYS TO HELP THE U-N 
IMPLEMENT ITS IRAQI OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAM. 

BUT CRITICS SAY THE TWO-DAY MEETING IS NOTHING MORE THAN WHAT 
THEY CALL A "TALKING SHOP."  SOME DISMISS IT AS A CHANCE FOR 
WESTERN COUNTRIES TO ALLEVIATE THEIR CONSCIENCES AS IRAQIS 
CONTINUE TO SUFFER UNDER THE CRIPPLING SANCTIONS.

GEORGE GALLOWAY IS A MEMBER OF THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT FROM THE 
RULING LABOUR PARTY.  HE'S AN EXPERT ON IRAQ, WHO TRAVELS 
FREQUENTLY TO THE COUNTRY.  HIS DETRACTORS HAVE ACCUSED HIM OF 
BEING AN APOLOGIST FOR THE IRAQI LEADERSHIP -- A CHARGE HE 
DENIES. 

MR. GALLOWAY SAYS THE CONFERENCE HAS LITTLE CHANCE OF SUCCESS 
BECAUSE SOME KEY PLAYERS HAVE DECIDED  NOT  TO ATTEND, 
PARTICULARLY IRAQ.

                     // GALLOWAY ACT //    

         THE ARAB LEAGUE AMBASSADORS HAVE ALL BOYCOTTED THE 
         CONFERENCE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE KUWAITI 
         AMBASSADOR. SOME OF THE MORE IMPORTANT PLAYERS IN THE 
         REGION -- TURKEY AND JORDAN, FOR EXAMPLE -- HAVE 
         BOYCOTTED THE CONFERENCE. AND RUSSIA AND CHINA ARE  NOT 
         THERE. SO THERE ARE A LOT OF ELOQUENTLY EMPTY SEATS AT 
         THE CONFERENCE.  AND I THINK THAT THAT WILL LIMIT ITS 
         EFFECTIVENESS.

                         // END ACT // 

 MR. GALLOWAY ECHOES THE VIEW OF MANY NON-GOVERNMENTAL 
ORGANIZATIONS WHO SAY THE IRAQI PEOPLE HAVE SUFFERED GREATLY 
UNDER THE INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS. //OPT// HE HAS JUST RETURNED 
FROM A VISIT TO IRAQ AND SAYS STARVATION IS EVERYWHERE. 

                  // SECOND GALLOWAY ACT //   

         //SUB OPT// I WAS AT THE EASTER SERVICE AMONGST THE VERY
         BIG AND VIBRANT CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY IN IRAQ ON EASTER 
         SUNDAY, AND AS I CAME OUT WITH THE CARDINAL FROM THE 
         CHURCH, A MAN FELL DOWN. I SWEAR TO YOU. HE FELL DOWN, 
         FAINTED FROM HUNGER. HE WAS REVIVED BY WATER AND BREAD 
         -- AND IT WAS THE FIRST TIME HE HAD EATEN IN THREE DAYS.
         //END SUB OPT// ANYONE WHO FALLS ILL IS ASSUMED TO BE 
         GOING TO DIE BECAUSE THE MEDICAL SITUATION IN THE 
         COUNTRY IS SIMPLY CATASTROPHIC. OF COURSE THE HEALTHY 
         CAN STAY JUST ONE STEP AHEAD.  BUT THE REGIME IS (IRAQI 
         GOVERNMENT LEADERS ARE) THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO ARE  NOT  
         AFFECTED.  //SUB OPT// THE REGIME HAS ALL THE CIGARS IT 
         NEEDS, ALL THE FOOD IT NEEDS, ALL THE VEHICLES IT NEEDS,
         ALL THE UNIFORMS. THEY ARE THE ONE SET OF PEOPLE WHO ARE
         NOT  AFFECTED. //END SUB OPT//

                         // END ACT //  

BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER GEORGE GALLOWAY SAYS THE ECONOMIC 
SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON IRAQ EIGHT YEARS AGO BY THE INTERNATIONAL 
COMMUNITY ARE  NOT  WORKING. HE SAYS IT IS TIME FOR THEM TO BE 
LIFTED AND SPARE THE IRAQI PEOPLE MORE SUFFERING. //END OPT//  
THE U-N SECURITY COUNCIL IS EXPECTED TO DISCUSS THE MATTER LATER 
THIS MONTH. (SIGNED)

NEB/ADEN/PCF/KL



20-Apr-98 10:26 AM EDT (1426 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.