Global Policy Forum

Kucinich, Members of Congress Ask Albright for Meeting on Iraq Sanctions Policy


Press Release
Contact: John Edgell, Office of Rep. Kucinich
Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Washington, DC - Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) and 25 members of Congress have sent a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asking to meet with her to discuss issues related to United States sanctions policy in Iraq. This effort is also supported by the American Public Health Association, the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, representing more than 50,000 members from over 50 occupations of public health.

"There is an urgent need to re-evaluate our sanctions policy and develop better ways of providing humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq," Kucinich said. "I believe that there is growing skepticism in Congress about this policy and I am encouraged by the support for a meeting with Secretary Albright."

The letter emphasizes the devastated public health infrastructure in Iraq, which is considered to be the leading cause of the spread of disease and illness, conditions that were almost non-existent in Iraq before the Gulf War. "We feel that the gravity of the public health crisis makes it urgent for us to rethink the sanctions policy at all levels, especially in regard to water purification materials," the letter states. "We recognize that many items needed for water and sanitation purposes are considered 'dual-use' items. But we believe that such items could be safely introduced with a careful system of monitoring by UN humanitarian officials."

According to a recent report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (February, 2000), "Since then [the Gulf War], money and spare parts have not been available to repair sewage works and purification plants, which are often working at reduced capacity, or not at all. This has led to an overall deterioration in the quality and quantity of drinking water and the rapid spread of infectious disease, such as cholera."

In an effort to continue the dialogue on sanctions in Congress, Rep. Kucinich will host a public briefing on the current sanctions policy on Iraq, its effect on the Iraqi civilian population and its impact on the Iraqi regime. The briefing will take place on May 3, 2000 beginning at 3:00 pm in room 2203 Rayburn. Speakers include: Hans Von Sponeck, former UN Oil-for-Food Program Director; Denis Halliday, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq; and Scott Ritter, former Senior UNSCOM Weapons Inspector.


Reps. David Bonior (MI)
John Conyers (MI)
Cynthia McKinney (GA)
William Jefferson (LA)
Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX)
Maurice Hinchey (NY)
William Clay (MO)
Peter DeFazio (OR)
Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL)
Lynn Rivers (MI)
John Olver (MA)
Tom Sawyer (OH)
Barbara Lee (CA)
Jose Serrano (NY)
Sherrod Brown (OH)
Gregory Meeks (NY)
Collin Peterson (MN)
Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI)
Pete Stark (CA)
Nick Rahall (WV)
Bruce Vento (MN)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
David Minge (MN)
Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Xavier Becerra (CA)

More Information on Sanctions against Iraq


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