Iraq -- Security Council -- Economic Sanctions

Vienna, 21 January 2000/P/K/16705c-is

In a statement issued today, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, characterized the recent Security Council resolution (1284 of 17 December 1999) on Iraq as a measure to establish a kind of colonial trusteeship on Iraq and to eternalize the sanctions régime imposed in 1990. The resolution which provides for the setting up of a so-called "United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission" (UNMOVIC) as successor of the failed UNSCOM, has been adopted without the votes of China, France and Russia and represents so far the most detailed effort to subject the Republic of Iraq to a permanent system of controls and interference into its internal affairs, in violation of Iraqi sovereignty and in strict contradiction to the basic principles of the UN Charter.

The President of the I.P.O. pointed to the fact that Paragraph 33 of the resolution falls back even behind earlier resolutions in only vaguely offering the prospect of suspending sanctions instead of lifting them as provided for in Paragraph 22 of resolution 687 (1991) in regard to Iraqi exports. This new resolution has deliberately obscured what is required of Iraq even for the mere suspension of sanctions. The resolution's deliberate lack of precision is likely to produce more tensions between Iraq and the major Western protagonists, the United States and the U.K., Dr. Koechler said. It continues the policy of taking the Iraqi people hostage for the pursuit of the political strategies of these two Western powers.

The detailed provisions of this resolution one more time reveal the lack of sincerity of the Western powers vis-à-vis Iraq. This lack of sincerity has also become obvious in the Secretary-General's appointment of Mr. Rolf Ekeus as Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC whose performance as Chairman of the earlier UNSCOM was totally biased in favour of U.S. interests and generally not up to the standards of an international civil servant.

The President of the I.P.O. said that the United Nations Security Council can open a new chapter in its relations with Iraq only if humanitarian and political issues are de-coupled, i.e. if the comprehensive sanctions imposed on the people of Iraq are immediately lifted so as to pave the way for political dialogue between Iraq and the member states of the Security Council to settle any outstanding issues and to promote peace and stability in the region. After nearly 10 years of the most comprehensive and severe sanctions régime in the history of international organization, the people of Iraq deserve justice including compensation from those UN member states that have imposed and enforced the sanctions in violation of basic provisions of humanitarian law such as those of the Geneva Conventions and in total neglect of the jus cogens of general international law.