News

USIS Washington File

14 October 1999

Text: Kuwaiti Coast Guard Seizes Dhows Exporting Food From Iraq

(Rubin: Seizure demonstrates Iraq's total disregard for its people)
(390)

On October 4, the Kuwaiti Coast Guard seized three dhows (large wooden
cargo vessels) which were sailing from Iraq and had entered Kuwaiti
territorial waters. The dhows were exporting food items from Iraq, in
violation of UN Security Council resolutions, State Department
Spokesman James P. Rubin said October 14.

"The seizure of this cargo demonstrates yet again the Government of
Iraq's total disregard for the welfare of the Iraqi people. Despite
its claims that the Iraqi people are suffering from a lack of food,
the Government of Iraq is smuggling food items, agricultural feed and
other consummables to sell for hard currency abroad," Rubin said.

Following is the text of Rubin's statement:

(begin text) 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

For Immediate Release
October 14, 1999
#99/897

Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman 

Seizure of Dhows Exporting Food from Iraq 

On Monday, October 4, the Kuwaiti Coast Guard seized three dhows
(large wooden cargo vessels) which were sailing from Iraq and had
entered Kuwaiti territorial waters. The dhows were exporting food
items from Iraq, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

The smuggled items include 150 tons of dates, 22 tons of licorice, and
446 sacks of jute seeds, which is used to grow animal fodder. In
addition to these items, a large amount of edible grains were also on
board: 100 tons of green lentils, 70 tons of another grain used to
flavor sweets and considered beneficial for nursing mothers and other
homeopathic remedies, and 144 tons of clover, also used for animal
feed.

The seizure of this cargo demonstrates yet again the Government of
Iraq's total disregard for the welfare of the Iraqi people. Despite
its claims that the Iraqi people are suffering from a lack of food,
the Government of Iraq is smuggling food items, agricultural feed and
other consummables to sell for hard currency abroad. While exporting
food from Iraq, Baghdad still refuses to purchase recommended
nutritional supplements, despite the fact that it will generate over
$6 billion in revenue in the current six-month phase of the
oil-for-food program.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State.)