News


DATE=        MAY 29, 1998
TYPE=        EDITORIAL
NUMBER=      0-07807
TITLE=       EDITORIAL:  PICKERING ON OIL FOR FOOD FOR IRAQIS

CONTENT=THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST 
MAY 29, 1998.

ANNCR:
THE VOICE OF AMERICA PRESENTS DIFFERING POINTS OF VIEW ON A WIDE 
VARIETY OF ISSUES.  NEXT, AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF
THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

VOICE:

    THE IRAQI REGIME OF SADDAM HUSSEIN HAS SHOWN THROUGH ITS 
AGGRESSION AGAINST KUWAIT, IRAN AND OTHER NEIGHBORS THAT IT POSES
A THREAT TO WORLD PEACE AND SECURITY.  THAT IS WHY THE UNITED 
NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL INSISTED IN 1991 THAT IRAQ BE DISARMED 
OF ITS NUCLEAR, CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS AND MISSILES WITH
A RANGE OF MORE THAN ONE-HUNDRED FIFTY KILOMETERS.  THERE HAS 
BEEN SOME LIMITED PROGRESS ON CRIPPLING IRAQ'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS 
PROGRAMS.  BUT IRAQ HAS NOT COME CLOSE TO SATISFYING U-N 
INSPECTORS THAT IT HAS ELIMINATED OTHER WEAPONS OF MASS 
DESTRUCTION.  AS A RESULT, IRAQ REMAINS SUBJECT TO COMPREHENSIVE 
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC SANCTIONS.

    WHILE THE UNITED STATES AND OTHER COUNTRIES MUST PROTECT 
THEMSELVES FROM AN AGGRESSIVE IRAQI REGIME, THEY DO NOT WISH TO 
IMPOSE UNNECESSARY SUFFERING ON THE IRAQI PEOPLE.  FOR THAT 
REASON, THE SANCTIONS HAVE NEVER BARRED THE SHIPMENT TO IRAQ OF 
FOOD, MEDICINE AND OTHER HUMANITARIAN GOODS.  UNFORTUNATELY, 
SADDAM HUSSEIN DOES NOT SHARE A SIMILAR CONCERN FOR THE IRAQI 
PEOPLE.  HE HAS SPENT TWO BILLION DOLLARS BUILDING PALACES IN THE
PERIOD SINCE THE GULF WAR ENDED WHILE ARGUING THAT IRAQ DOESN'T 
HAVE THE RESOURCES TO FEED ITS PEOPLE.

    THAT IS WHY THE U-N'S OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAM IS CRUCIAL.  UNDER
THIS PROGRAM, IRAQ IS ALLOWED TO EXPORT A SPECIFIED AMOUNT OF OIL
AND USE PART OF THE PROCEEDS FOR HUMANITARIAN GOODS.  THE PROGRAM
IS MONITERED BY THE U-N TO ENSURE THAT THE FOOD AND MEDICINE GO 
TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE -- NOT SADDAM AND HIS MILITARY.

    AS UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE THOMAS PICKERING POINTED OUT, THE
U.S. PROPOSED THE FIRST OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAM IN 1991.  BUT SADDAM
REJECTED IT.  A REVISED PROGRAM FINALLY WENT INTO EFFECT AT THE 
END OF 1996.  A U-N RESOLUTION WAS RECENTLY PASSED THAT EXPANDED 
THE PROGRAM TO ALLOW IRAQ TO EXPORT MORE THAN FIVE BILLION 
DOLLARS' WORTH OF OIL EVERY SIX MONTHS.

    IT IS CLEAR THAT IF THE OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAM WERE NOT IN 
PLACE, SADDAM HUSSEIN WOULD CONTINUE TO EXPLOIT THE SUFFERING OF 
THE IRAQI PEOPLE IN HOPES OF FORCING THE U-N SECURITY COUNCIL TO 
LIFT THE SANCTIONS.  AS UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE PICKERING 
STRESSED, "THE OIL-FOR-FOOD PROGRAM IS THE KEY TO SUSTAINING THE 
SANCTIONS REGIME UNTIL IRAQ COMPLIES WITH ITS OBLIGATIONS."

ANNCR:

    THAT WAS AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF THE U.S. 
GOVERNMENT.  IF YOU HAVE A COMMENT, PLEASE WRITE TO EDITORIALS, 
V-O-A, WASHINGTON, D-C, 20547, U-S-A.  YOU MAY ALSO COMMENT AT 
WWW-DOT-VOA-DOT-GOV-SLASH-EDITORIALS, OR  FAX US AT (202) 
619-1043.

28-May-98 11:49 AM EDT (1549 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.