News



DATE=4/27/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-230292
TITLE=IRAQ/U-N (S & L)
BYLINE=DOUGLAS ROBERTS
DATELINE=CAIRO
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

             
INTRO:  AS THE U-N SECURITY COUNCIL (PREPARES TO DISCUSS / 
DISCUSSES) A RENEWAL OF THE ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ, 
BAGHDAD HAS ANNOUNCED A CUT IN FOOD RATIONS. MIDDLE EAST 
CORRESPONDENT DOUGLAS ROBERTS REPORTS IRAQI OFFICIALS HAVE 
RENEWED ALLEGATIONS THAT THE UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN ARE 
OBSTRUCTING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE U-N'S "OIL-FOR-FOOD" DEAL.

TEXT: IRAQI TRADE MINISTRY OFFICIALS SAY RATIONS OF COOKING OIL 
AND BABY MILK WILL BE REDUCED AT THE BEGINNING OF NEXT MONTH. AND
TABLE SALT WILL  NO  LONGER BE INCLUDED IN THE MONTHLY RATION 
THAT IS CONSIDERED AN ESSENTIAL LIFELINE FOR MILLIONS OF IRAQIS.

THE RATION PACKAGE ALSO INCLUDES RICE, FLOUR, SUGAR AND SOAP 
WHICH APPARENTLY ARE NOT AFFECTED BY THE CUTS.

IRAQI OFFICIALS BLAME THE REDUCTIONS ON WHAT THE NATIONAL NEWS 
AGENCY CALLS THE INHUMANE AND IMMORAL PRACTICES OF THE UNITED 
STATES AND BRITAIN.  BAGHDAD HAS FREQUENTLY CHARGED THAT 
WASHINGTON AND LONDON DELAY OR BLOCK APPROVAL OF CONTRACTS FOR 
THE SUPPLY OF HUMANITARIAN GOODS TO IRAQ.

U-S AND BRITISH OFFICIALS DISMISS THE ACCUSATIONS.

                ///REMAINDER OPT FOR LONG C-R///

THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE RATION CUTS APPEARS TIMED TO COINCIDE 
WITH THE LATEST U-N SECURITY COUNCIL REVIEW OF THE ECONOMIC 
SANCTIONS IN PLACE SINCE IRAQ'S 1990 INVASION OF KUWAIT.

IN THE RUN-UP TO THE U-N REVIEW, BAGHDAD HAS MOUNTED A MAJOR 
PROPAGANDA OFFENSIVE, DEMANDING AN END TO THE SANCTIONS AND 
WARNING OF DIRE BUT UNSPECIFIED CONSEQUENCES, IF THE SECURITY 
COUNCIL FAILS TO RESPOND.

IRAQ SAYS AT LEAST A MILLION AND A HALF (1.5 MILLION) OF ITS 
CITIZENS HAVE DIED OVER THE PAST EIGHT YEARS, AS A DIRECT RESULT 
OF THE SANCTIONS.

BAGHDAD SAYS INFANT MORTALITY AND THE DEATH RATE AMONG THE 
ELDERLY CONTINUE TO SOAR BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF FOOD AND 
MEDICINE.

U-N AND RELIEF AGENCY OFFICIALS SAY AT LEAST SOME OF THE DEATHS 
CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO IRAQ'S INEFFICIENT BUREAUCRACY, AS WELL AS 
TO ETHNIC DISCRIMINATION BY THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT IN BAGHDAD 
AGAINST SHIITE MUSLIMS IN SOUTHERN IRAQ AND THE KURDISH MINORITY 
IN THE NORTH.

IN ADDITION, WESTERN OFFICIALS POINT OUT THAT IRAQ CONTINUES TO 
SPEND LAVISHLY ON NEW OFFICE AND RESIDENTIAL COMPOUNDS FOR 
PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSSEIN.

A REPORT IN THE "LOS ANGELES TIMES" NEWSPAPER THIS WEEK, QUOTING 
DIPLOMATIC SOURCES, SAYS IRAQ HAS CONSTRUCTED 48 PRESIDENTIAL 
SITES, AT A COST OF AROUND TWO-BILLION DOLLARS, SINCE THE 
SANCTIONS WENT INTO FORCE.

SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS STIPULATE THAT THE SANCTIONS CAN 
ONLY BE LIFTED ONCE THE U-N HAS VERIFIED THE ELIMINATION OF ALL 
OF IRAQ'S NUCLEAR CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS, AS WELL AS THE
DESTRUCTION OF ITS LONG RANGE MISSILES.

BAGHDAD INSISTS IT HAS LONG SINCE COMPLIED WITH THAT DEMAND. BUT 
OFFICIALS OF THE U-N ARMS COMMISSION REMAIN UNCONVINCED. THE 
LATEST REPORT FROM COMMISSION CHAIRMAN RICHARD BUTLER SAYS 
VIRTUALLY NO PROGRESS BEEN MADE OVER THE PAST SIX MONTHS TOWARD 
CERTIFYING IRAQI COMPLIANCE (SIGNED)

NEB/DBR/PCF

27-Apr-98 10:28 AM EDT (1428 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.