Global Policy Forum

Ten Years of Sanctions Aginst Iraq Have

Agence France Presse
July 18, 2000

A decade of sanctions against Iraq has "completely failed," and a new approach is called for, the former UN humanitarian aid coordinator to Iraq, Hans von Sponeck, told AFP in the run-up to the 10th anniversary of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

Von Sponeck, who resigned from his post in February to protest at the continuing sanctions, said the Iraqi experience had shown that "sanctions have completely failed in a dictatorship environment."

"We have to give an another approach a chance and be honest. We have to sit with the Iraqis at the same table," said von Sponeck, who was taking part in a closed-door three-day conference here on the future of Iraq organised by the Centre for World Dialogue and attended by about 30 international researchers and experts.

"The unthinkable is not so unthinkable now and we have to break this Berlin wall between Iraq and the rest of the world," von Sponeck said. "Being against the sanctions does not mean to be for Saddam Hussein," he added. He said the UN "oil for food" deal was not working. Under the deal, introduced at the end of 1996, Iraq is allowed to sell limited quantities of oil in order to purchase essential goods under UN supervision.

Describing the situation for civilians in Iraq as critical, he listed the diseases -- diarrhoea, respiratory problems and malnutrition -- from which Iraqis, and especially children, are suffering. Iraqis who had grown up under sanctions belong to a "refrigerator generation," he said, adding: "We'll never be able to give them back what they lost all these years."

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