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Iraq sanctions aren’t working

November 26 2001 Media Statement

Iraq sanctions aren’t working


“New Zealand will continue to encourage United Nations members to take a serious look at the failings of the sanctions regime in Iraq, says Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Matt Robson.

He was speaking tonight at the opening of an art exhibition in Wellington to raise funds for medical supplies to Iraq.

“The sanctions have mostly failed to dent the influence and power of Saddam Hussein. In the meantime 1.5 million Iraqis have died.

“Between 1990 and 1995 half a million children under the age of five died of malnutrition and preventable diseases. We can and must do more to stop the daily suffering of Iraqi citizens.

“New Zealand will continue to support the United Nations Oil for Food programme, which was set up to relieve civilian suffering,” says Matt Robson

Under this programme all proceeds from Iraq’s oil sales are placed in a United Nations’ account to purchase humanitarian aid, especially food and medicine.

Recently it was reported that not all funds available in the Oil for Food programme are being used, due to Iraqi delays in formulating plans for distribution and concerns that some of the supplies might have military applications.

Matt Robson echoed Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan’s words last week that all parties concerned, from Baghdad to the United Nations itself, must overcome the problems hindering aid delivery.

“New Zealand also advocates the use of smart sanctions. The sanctions on trade must be stopped. If we target the elite, the effects on innocent civilians will be minimised

“Debate continues on the most effective way to implement smart sanctions and New Zealand will continue to be a part of that debate.

“Our priority remains, to see the suffering of innocent people stopped, while a strong arms embargo remains until Iraq has disarmed,” says Matt Robson.

ENDS

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