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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal Ambassador James Cunningham
UN Security Council
New York City, NY, March 24, 2000

The Council has three goals today: to review the sanctions on Iraq, to examine the state of Iraq's oil production capacity and look to allocations in that field, and to assess progress on the humanitarian sections of resolution 1284 (1999). Taking a comprehensive look at the humanitarian situation to focus improvements even more sharply is also a process envisaged in that resolution. Today my delegation will offer constructive ideas in all of these areas. Given the questions posed in recent weeks about the situation in Iraq, I hope it will be helpful to the Council to review fully how the United States approaches this important subject.

To accomplish our first goal--assessing Iraqi sanctions--it would be useful to recall how we got here in the first place. In 1990 and 1991, Iraq attempted to annihilate its neighbor, strip it of its property and resources, and seize its oil. The Security Council and a strong international response prevented Iraq from succeeding. Following the conflict, the international community decided it had to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and ensure that it would not again become a threat to international peace and security.

I trust that no one here today will suggest that that goal has been achieved. Iraq remains a threat. Unanswered questions remain in the areas of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and of the missiles to deliver them.

And, given the long pattern of unacceptable Iraqi behavior, including public rejection of resolution 1284 (1999), there will be a need to monitor Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability for some time to come. In the meantime, sanctions are the leverage the international community has to get the Government of Iraq to comply with Security Council resolutions. That is the goal. And, as the Secretary-General just told us, that is the solution. But so long as Iraq is not meeting its obligations under Security Council resolutions, sanctions remain essential.

I would like to speak now about Iraq's responsibilities. As the Secretary-General's report makes clear, the oil-for-food programme will never supplant the responsibilities of the Government of Iraq to provide for the needs of its people. It was designed to alleviate the impact of sanctions on the Iraqi people. But because Iraq continues to evade its obligations, sanctions have continued for a period unimagined. At the same time, the Iraqi regime's refusal over time to fulfill its responsibilities to care for and feed its own people was also unimagined and still remains hard to comprehend.

A country that once spent a billion dollars on education sustains a bloated military-industrial complex instead. Iraq has consistently under-spent on education, and has chosen to build palaces over building schools. Even now, seven phases into the programme, Iraq consistently under-orders foodstuffs and has never met the minimum calorie and protein targets set by the Secretary-General, despite record-setting revenues under the oil-for-food programme.

My delegation has circulated a set of printed charts to which I would like to refer in the course of my discussion. Chart 1 shows that, despite growing revenues and despite daily caloric values for the Iraqi people of less than the Secretary-General's recommendation of 2,463 kilocalories per person per day, the purchase of food has remained flat. Even when given the opportunity properly to feed the Iraqi population, the Government of Iraq chooses not to do so.

In the meantime, the Iraqi regime has found the money and the personnel to sow tens of thousands of landmines within its own borders. Landmines placed by the regime between 1992 and 1997 have caused more than 15,000 casualties, of which 15 per cent were children. The Secretary-General tells us that in areas where the United Nations has been able to conduct demining, significant progress has been made in agriculture and reforestation. Sadly, this kind of improvement has occurred only in the north because Iraq has banned -- placed a permanent hold on, if you will United Nations demining activity anywhere else in the country.

No one denies that Iraq's poor oilfield management practices and lack of spare parts have resulted in critical circumstances for its oil production capacity. Yet, at the same time, Iraq has converted container ports into oil depots and has brought on line new facilities to export petroleum products in order to steal money via smuggling, money that otherwise would have been destined to the escrow account and the Iraqi people.

While Iraq was asking for needed international drought relief assistance, it obtained the resources needed to drain the southern Amarah and Hammar marshes, causing environmental damage of historic proportions and destroying entire villages. Saddam Hussein was able to build the private lakes around his palaces and build amusement parks for the elite. We have an example in visual aid 2, which is a photograph of the Abu Ghuray'b Presidential Grounds. We can see the water devoted to that particular installation--not to mention the palace itself.

The warehousing of supplies, the willful neglect of specific humanitarian sectors, such as the food basket, the under-ordering of medicines and nutritional supplements, the siphoning off of goods to agents of the regime, the illegal re-exportation of humanitarian supplies, the establishment of front companies, the payment of kickbacks to manipulate and gain from oil-for-food contracts--these and other practices are well documented. Such abuses ebb and flow at the whim of Iraq's leadership.

Many of our friends have privately complained about Iraq's subtle and not-so-subtle intimidation of companies that have filed claims with the Compensation Commission. Agents of the regime have pressured them to drop those claims in order to be considered for contracts in the oil-for-food programme. An informal system metes out economic reward and punishment, both inside Iraq and out, to companies and nations in exchange for perceived political support.

Iraq is not fulfilling its responsibilities. It is hard to measure the impact of Iraqi obstruction on the broadest scale, For example, the fact that the Government of Iraq refuses to divulge or make transparent financial figures and statistics makes it difficult, if not impossible, to judge the country's general economic situation. Iraq's tendency to keep printing currency to finance its budget deficits fuels the rise in local prices for staple foods.

The United Nations and others have documented three ongoing Iraqi Government tactics that, to say the least, have a negative impact on the population: the indiscriminate bombardment of civilian settlements and arbitrary killings; the arbitrary arrest and detention of suspected criminals and so-called traitors; and forced displacement. The no-fly zones were established to alleviate the most egregious examples of attacks on the vulnerable population groups in the north and south. While no-fly zone patrols cannot prevent every depredation against Iraqi minorities, their enforcement has prevented wholesale genocide. In terms of arbitrary arrest, the human fights Rapporteur points out that in Iraq there is no freedom of speech or action, since the mere suggestion that someone is not a supporter of the President carries the prospect of the death penalty. This should be kept in mind when we are confronted in United Nations reports with statistics whose main source is the regime.

Finally, Iraq remains the country with the highest number of disappearances reported to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. Moreover, persons displaced by the regime are deprived of needed humanitarian relief on the grounds that they are "temporary residents" of the places to which they have been banished.

The key areas I have just cited are directly mentioned in paragraph 27 of Security Council resolution 1284 (1999). That paragraph outlines specific tasks Iraq must perform to do its part to assuage the suffering of the Iraqi people. My delegation would like more information on what Iraq has or has not done in this regard, since the Secretary-General's report did not detail this needed area of implementation.

Let us be clear. Sanctions by themselves are not the problem. The sanctions on Iraq have never targeted the Iraqi people and have not limited the import of food and medicine. Where there has been deprivation in Iraq, the Iraqi regime is responsible, due to both its failure to meet its obligations under Security Council resolutions and its cynical manipulation of civilian suffering in an effort to obtain the lifting of sanctions without compliance.

I have already mentioned the concerns addressed by two of the special assessment Panels created by the Council early last year, and this is a good time to mention the third--the people of Kuwait. If our humanitarian regard is genuine, we must not forget or neglect the families of those who remain missing since Iraq's invasion and occupation of their country. We must not forget that the Iraqi regime is accountable for those innocent civilians and has failed utterly to meet its obligation to account for them.

Similarly, we must not forget that the victims of Iraqi aggression were not only Kuwaitis. Thousands of individuals from Egypt, Jordan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and a score of other nations lost property, savings or livelihood. They are justly recouping a share of their losses through the objective and efficient mechanism of the United Nations Compensation Commission. More than 5 billion dollars has been disbursed to date to claimants in dozens of countries.

Let me discuss for a moment the efforts to improve oil-for- food and north versus south, Had the Government of Iraq not waited years to decide to accept the oil-for-food agreement proposed as early as 1991, millions of innocent people would have avoided serious and prolonged suffering. We should recall that the first shipment under oil-for-food did not take place until March of 1997. Even when Baghdad accepted the oil-for-food programme, it cut off the flow of oil on several occasions, taking millions of dollars away from the programme, most recently in December of 1999. We trust Iraq will not wait five years to accept resolution 1284 (1999), with its important means to expand humanitarian support. But there is also little we can do about Iraq's cynical manipulation of its oil exports and its people. Our challenge here in this Council is how to improve the humanitarian situation despite Iraqi obstruction.

The oil-for-food programme is the largest humanitarian programme in United Nations history. While there have been growing pains, look at the notable successes in its three years of existence: 13 million tons of food have been delivered to the Iraqi people, and food imports are now nearly reaching pre-war levels, as can be seen in the graph in visual aid 3. Successful veterinary vaccination programmes have controlled livestock epidemics and expanded production of poultry and eggs. One billion dollars' worth of health commodities have been approved by the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990), and 90% of the drug needs of hospital patients arc being met.

Over $1 billion worth of inputs to other sectors have already arrived in Iraq. An additional $1.5 billion worth of goods have been approved by the Committee but have not yet arrived. These numbers will continue to rise.

These numbers are, of course, composite figures for the whole country. Although all of Iraq is under the same sanctions regime and uses the same oil-for-food programme, the Secretary-General's report highlights some unfortunate differences in the humanitarian situation in the north and in the rest of Iraq. Where Baghdad is in charge of distribution, the full benefits of oil-for-food are not being achieved. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned there.

Everyone is familiar with the recent United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) study which found that child mortality was below pre-war levels in the north, while in the rest of Iraq the figures were tragically higher. The Secretary-General's report notes that in the north, the beneficiaries of supplementary feeding programmes have dropped from a quarter of a million to about 80,000, as the result of the effectiveness of that programme. When the UNICEF report was published, Baghdad, stung by criticism of its long-standing refusal to order nutritional supplements, finally relented and ordered them. We are grateful that the Secretary-General has now highlighted Baghdad's refusal to operate supplementary feeding programmes which the United Nations has been advocating for years. We hope all those expressing concerns about the people of Iraq will join us in pressing the Government of Iraq to provide these critically needed programmes.

In the north, full courses of drug treatment are now being provided to those suffering from chronic illness. In the rest of Iraq, citizens with these diseases are not being properly treated because of erratic, uncoordinated arrivals of needed medications. The Government of Iraq should remedy this immediately.

In the area of vaccinations, there has just been an overwhelmingly successful polio vaccination campaign in the north. Where the Government of Iraq has been in charge, there is poorer coverage in certain vaccination categories than in 1994.

We have heard the theory in this Council that conditions in the north are better than in the Government-controlled areas of the south because the north receives more assistance per capita than the south and more attention from non-government organizations. But the three northern governorates, throughout the rule of Saddam Hussein, have been the victims of Government policies ranging from systematic neglect to systematic efforts at genocide, At the close of the Gulf War, a campaign by Saddam Hussein's military forces displaced approximately 1 million citizens in the north. Surely some in this room will recall the horrific ordeal of tens of thousands, including women, children and the infirm, clinging to barren mountainsides in the dead of winter. In short, the north had a long way to go when the United Nations arrived. And if there is more non-governmental organization activity in the north, it is because non-governmental organizations are welcome to operate in the north, unlike in southern and central Iraq, where the Government is openly hostile to extensive non-governmental organization operations.

Therefore, my delegation would like to offer the following proposal: if the Government of Iraq is unable to manage oil-for-food for the maximum benefit, we believe that United Nations agencies active in the north should be empowered to undertake similar programmes in the south and centre.

The bottom line is that the oil-for-food programme, while not perfect, works for the Iraqi people, and the Government of Iraq does not, The United Nations works for the Iraqi people. The Government does not. Non-governmental organizations work for the Iraqi people. The Government does not.

I would like now to address for a moment the oil sector. I would like to comment on the findings of the Secretary-General. The Council is responsible for balancing the needs of the Iraqi oil sector against the needs in other sectors, such as food and medicine.

We observe with some disappointment that the Secretary-General's report did not follow more closely the pattern laid out in his February 1998 report, which outlined needs across various sectors and the funding necessary to meet these needs. On the basis of such an approach, the Council asked the Secretary- General to instruct Saybolt to lay out a comprehensive, multi-phase plan for attaining needed revenues. The plan more than succeeded in the last phase of oil-for-food, when the $5.2 billion cap was exceeded. The Office of the Iraq Programme, Saybolt and the Council should recognize that effort as a job well done. We should not lose sight of the fact that Iraqi oil exports are at about the pre-war level, a tremendous increase from where they were less than a year ago. If Council members will look at visual aid 4 they will see that trend--how export revenues have essentially returned to pre-war levels.

Unfortunately, a comprehensive plan for the future is not outlined in the current report. The report does recommend, however, an additional $300 million allocation for the oil sector in phases VI and VII, and we support that recommendation. In fact, the United States today introduced a draft resolution that would do just that, and we look forward to its early enactment.

I have another brief observation relating to the oil sector: clearly Baghdad does not want the embarrassing facts of the extent of its gas oil smuggling laid bare. A simple Saybolt analysis of refinery production, which Iraq refuses, would show the extent to which Iraq is keeping revenues from the oil-for-food programme.

As Council delegations heard in the Multinational Interception Force briefing to the sanctions Committee yesterday, hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of gas oil are being smuggled out of Iraq, with the proceeds going not for oil-for-food humanitarian imports but to the regime and its cronies. The regime is also spending the revenue under its control to fund terrorist activities. As the United States State Department spokesman will detail later today, the Government of Iraq has constructed a new headquarters in Iraq for the terrorist group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq.

No one has seen evidence that any of this money has been spent for humanitarian relief. Quite the contrary, smuggling steals money from the oil-for-food programme and puts it to illicit purposes. If Council members will look at visual aid 5, they will find a chart that demonstrates the dramatic rise in illegal Iraqi oil exports since September.

Smuggling is at historic levels. We believe the Council should act to designate authorized routes for refined product. We propose that Al Faw, an export facility in the Gulf about to become operational, and Abu Flus, a facility currently used for smuggling oil and capable of exporting at least 100,000 barrels of oil per day, be designated for United Nations-monitored export of refined product. Such a step would have the additional value of restricting any potential use of these facilities for smuggling. As we have consistently proposed in the past, it is time to bring all of Iraq's petroleum and petroleum product revenues under the oil-for-food programme so that the full potential of the programme can be realized, Another $500 million to $800 million annually added to the escrow account would provide an even more robust programme in all sectors.

Now I would like to say a few words about holds. The United States was the original sponsor of the oil-for-food programme, just as we were an early supporter what was then called "the comprehensive resolution," which became resolution 1284 (1999). Even as we insist on compliance, we continue to support oil-for-food and have played a key role in its implementation since its inception. The oil-for-food programme works, and works admirably, despite manipulation by the Iraqi regime. The great majority of goods requested--about 90% over the life of the programme so far--are approved.

There is always room for improvement, however. We will work in the Security Council and the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) to put into action what works best. We have a number of ideas on which we are already working, and some we will suggest today.

I want to thank the Office of the Iraq Programme for the work it has done both to improve the quality of contract submissions and to highlight holds of particular concern, as was done during the drought and with regard to foot-and-mouth disease. As a result, the United States released a number of holds in both areas. In his report the Secretary-General called for the removal of a hold on a critical dredging contract for the port of Umm Qasr; and we have done so.

I want to describe our policy, on reviewing and approving oil-for-food contracts. The United States review of contracts is guided by two principles that are fundamental to the Security Council's consideration of Iraq: preventing Iraq from acquiring the means to again threaten regional stability and improving the Iraqi people's humanitarian situation. Maintaining a judicious balance between these two objectives is a very serious responsibility from which the United States will not shrink.

In fact, the great preponderance of all goods requested has been approved since the oil-for-food programme began. Complaints about United States holds are focused on a small percentage of contracts presented to the sanctions Committee.

Our responsibility to the Security Council and to the region leads us to take this process very seriously. Decisions on contract holds and releases of holds by the United States are taken after careful, technical scrutiny. Political priorities play no role. While we recognize that not all Member States have the resources to assess thoroughly all contracts, it is clear, I regret to say, that some Member States that could do a thorough review have not.

Let us take a clear look at the holds the United States has. We have about 1,000 contracts on hold out of the more than 10,000 contracts received by the Secretariat. For more than one third of these contracts, we are awaiting requested information from the supplier about either the goods, the end use or the end user. As the Executive Director of the Office of the Iraq Programme noted in its recent paper on holds, "some 50 percent of holds could either be avoided entirely, or the amount of time involved substantially reduced, if all concerned put more effort into the provision of appropriate and timely information." These are called "US holds," but they are really holds caused by the failure to prepare an adequate submission.

We ask all Member States that are presenting contracts to the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990) to ensure that contract information is as complete as possible when the contract is originally submitted. For example, if one of your firms wants to sell pumps to Iraq you should be aware that some pumps are on the list stemming from resolution 1051 (1996)--that is, the Security Council's agreed list of dual-use products. We have to know the materials used in their construction to determine whether they are dual-use. If that information is not in the contract, we have to put the contract on hold while the question is being answered. Vague terms, such as "spare parts and accessories" or "laboratory equipment" will again draw questions. Therefore, it would expedite the process and be much easier for everyone if we had the information in the original contract submission. So let us put those holds--more than one third of the total--off to the side.

There are nearly 400 holds on contracts which pose resolution 1051 (1996) or other dual-use concerns. On dual-use items that do not fall under the provisions of that resolution, many times the concerns of our experts can be satisfied through additional information or monitoring arrangements. But we are not prepared to act imprudently in providing items related to weapons of mass destruction, particularly in the absence of monitoring and disarmament in Iraq.

We place a heavy emphasis on ensuring that dual-use items, such as those on the resolution 1051 (1996) list, are not permitted into Iraq. Until the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are able to resume their responsibilities in Iraq, including monitoring of such goods, it would be inappropriate and, indeed, dangerous to approve contracts for most such goods. We believe that every member of the Council should hold on such goods, particularly now that contracts are being marked as containing resolution 1051 (1996) items.

The Council agreed that items on the resolution 1051 (1996) list were serious enough inputs into weapons of mass destruction to require monitoring by the United Nations Special Committee (UNSCOM) or the IAEA if exported to Iraq. Yet some members are not only approving these contracts, but complaining about United States holds on such items. We would appreciate an explanation from other members, particularly those most critical of our holds on dual-use goods, providing information about their own criteria for reviewing and approving contracts on resolution 1051 (1996) items and other dual-use items--items which could enhance the Government of Iraq's ability to obtain, make or utilize weapons of mass destruction. We are surprised that the Secretary-General's report did not comment favourably on the Council's decision that weapons inspectors monitor resolution 1051 (1996) items.

Where we can improve? At the moment, the United States has 339 contracts on hold because we have not reviewed additional information that we have received. For these, the ball is clearly in our court. This category is constantly in flux, as holds are cleared out on the basis of additional information and new contracts are placed on hold because of inadequate information. Our staffing of these reviews has not kept pace with the recent sharp increase in the number of contracts presented and the new requirement to review contracts within a target of two days. We admit that it is inappropriate to keep contractors waiting for lengthy periods for responses to their additional information, and we are tightening our procedures with a goal of much quicker response times.

We are also examining our review criteria with the goal of concentrating our holds on the items of most serious concern. We began a process this week to reexamine contracts on hold against these criteria. About 90 contracts were reviewed. Of these, about 70 will be taken off hold today. This is a large percentage of the contracts for which complete information is available and resolution 1051 (1996) items are not involved. While I must admit that we began this process by looking at holds which we found the most questionable under our current standards, and that future meetings may not yield such a high percentage of holds removed, we are re-evaluating our holds in the light of current circumstances. I will be talking more later about monitoring of oil-for-food goods, and how this can also help reduce holds.

There are other categories of holds, too. We have on hold 14 oil-for-food contracts containing items destined for the unauthorized export facility at Khor al-Amaya. When there are so many urgent needs in Iraq, it is unconscionable for the Government of Iraq to divert precious resources to a facility which the Council has not decided that Iraq may use. We have repeatedly urged the Office of the Iraq Programme to withdraw these contracts in order to release funds for needed oil spare parts and equipment.

We are also holding 55 contracts for goods destined for the Basrah refinery, from which Iraq produces gas oil which it smuggles out of Iraq in violation of sanctions. The profits from this illicit trade are used by the Government of Iraq to procure items prohibited by sanctions, including luxuries for members of Saddam's inner circle. The Multinational Interception Force reported yesterday to the Committee the facts on Gulf smuggling.

We have 166 contracts on hold because they are linked to companies that have operated or are operating in violation of sanctions. Some of these companies are Iraqi fronts, operating illegally, which funnel oil-for-food programme revenues directly to the highest levels of the Iraqi regime. Information about our concerns is provided to the country capitals submitting these contracts. We ask submitting States to make every effort to ensure that all companies submitting contracts to the Committee established under resolution 661 (1990) are abiding by sanctions.

Finally, a small number of contracts--16 of them--with irregular financial terms have been placed on hold. We regret that, to date, the sanctions Committee has been unable to reach consensus on the appropriateness of these terms.

The Council anticipated Iraqi attempts to abuse the humanitarian programme, and it wisely mandated a rigorous review process. A relatively small number of problematic contracts have not been implemented, but the vast majority have been approved. As the Secretariat reported in its analysis of holds, in most sectors, holds have caused relatively minor shortages.

In reviewing oil-for-food contracts, the United States has acted, and will continue to act, strictly and objectively in accordance with the arms-control policies defined by the Council in its resolutions. Our holds are not politically motivated, nor are they driven by calculations of commercial prospect or gain. Not all critics of our holds policy can say the same.

I should like to say a word about United Nations monitoring and reporting. The best way to reduce the number of holds is to provide some sort of guarantee that contracted goods go to approved purposes, and the best way to achieve this is through better monitoring arrangements, building on arrangements already in place. Of course, the absence of UNMOVIC and IAEA monitors significantly complicates the monitoring picture. But let us for a moment focus on other aspects of United Nations monitoring.

When the oil-for-food programme began, revenue per phase was about $2 billion and most purchases were of food and medicine. During the most recent six-month phase, revenues were over $7 billion, and most likely they will be still higher in the current phase. The growth in oil-for-food purchases has not been in food and medicine but in sectors such as electricity, water and sanitation and oil production. While food and medicine generally do not raise dual-use concerns, these other sectors may.

Despite this enormous growth, the number of United Nations monitors in Iraq has remained the same, with the exception of Saybolt and Cotecna monitors, since the programme began. We applaud the diligence of the monitors in Iraq, but increased United Nations monitoring clearly is essential to keep pace with programme growth. While we welcome any suggestions in this regard, we point to the Saybolt model as one which bears examining. The United Nations has contracted with Saybolt to do assessments of the Iraqi oil sector and to provide monitors with sectoral expertise. We think this model could be used in other sectors, such as electricity, and we want to explore this possibility with the Office of the Iraq Programme and other Member States.

In addition to being concerned about the number of monitors, we are concerned about technical expertise and a better balance between technical experts and humanitarian workers in the monitoring staff.

A third area of concern is reporting back to the Committee. Again, we call attention to the Saybolt model. The Committee should receive more information on a regular basis.

The United States is already consulting with the Office of the Iraq Programme on the measures outlined above, and we ask others in the Council to lend support. If there were more monitors, with stronger technical qualifications, reporting more frequently and in greater detail to the Committee, the United States would be placing fewer holds on items because it would have greater assurance concerning the proper monitoring of oil-for-food inputs. So let us do this quickly.

We view resolution 1284 (1999) as a vehicle for a robust improvement of the humanitarian situation in Iraq, and we want to see all aspects of it implemented as rapidly as possible. All of the humanitarian provisions requiring action, by the Council or Committee have been completed or are in progress. I note in particular that the sanctions Committee and the Office of the Iraq Programme have completed work on the initial lists of pre-approved items for food, food handling, health supplies, education and agriculture. We expect these lists to be dynamic, not static, as new items are added.

Furthermore, as called for in paragraph 26 of the resolution, the Council approved a plan to allow Iraqi pilgrims to perform the Hajj. Baghdad's refusal to accept this plan was inexplicable and extremely disappointing.

The sanctions Committee has also made substantial progress on implementation of paragraph 18, which would set up a panel of oil experts. We expect this paragraph to be operational very soon.

What is ironic about this discussion is that, while the Council and the sanctions Committee have worked diligently, the Government of Iraq has done nothing but speak of rejection and non-cooperation. While today's discussion is about the humanitarian situation, we must also note that there are other critical aspects of resolution 1284 (1999) that are also humanitarian in nature, including disarmament and the issues of Kuwaiti prisoners of war and property. The Council must remain united in its efforts to persuade Iraq to accept all aspects of resolution 1284 (1999).

In concluding this long review, it cannot be overemphasized that the Government of Iraq bears the primary responsibility for the welfare of its people. I must frankly state my disappointment that the Secretary-General, in his reports, has not reported in detail on Iraqi progress in meeting its obligations under paragraph 27 of resolution 1284 (1999). I would like to ask the Secretary- General and whomever he will appoint to head United Nations programmes in Iraq -- an appointment which we hope is coming soon -- to be much more vigorous in reminding the Government of Iraq of its obligations and to report regularly to the Council.

We would now like to see what the Government of Iraq is contributing to the education of its children and to the better health of its citizens. We are constantly told by Baghdad that oil-for-food is not doing enough, but what has the regime done?

Another task for the new head of the United Nations programme should be to draw up a plan for assisting vulnerable groups, perhaps in consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross. This plan should include an invitation to humanitarian organizations to describe projects they would be willing to undertake in southern and central Iraq. In northern Iraq, United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations arc improving the lives of ordinary Iraqis. There is no reason Iraqis throughout the country should not have access to such assistance.

Reporting on distribution of supplies by sector is greatly appreciated. These reports continue to show that critical oil-for-food inputs are not being distributed in a timely manner. We request that the new head of the United Nations Programme in Iraq, as one of his or her first tasks, be charged with drafting a comprehensive plan for eliminating backlogs in distribution across all sectors, just as we are doing on holds.

We support the efforts of the Secretary-General to ensure that contracts are submitted by Iraq at a smooth pace, not bunched together at the end of a phase. We would also support more clarity in the distribution plan. I would also ask the Secretariat to inform the Council of the date it should expect to receive the prioritized list of humanitarian applications called for in resolution 1284 (1999).

I also note that we have no information that Iraq has dropped the requirement that the involuntarily displaced establish six months' residence before receiving assistance. We would welcome reporting on this matter.

Finally, my delegation would like to know what the prospect is for initiating de-mining in other parts of Iraq.

To sum up, we hope that all of our constructive suggestions can and will be put into effect. We call on Iraq to implement the recommendations made by the Secretary-General in his report. The Government of Iraq must immediately use a project-based approach to contracts; share baseline data or collaborate with the Office of the Iraq Programme to collect it where none is available; share data on the northern electrical grid; consider employing pre-shipment inspection agents and use better suppliers; strengthen cooperation with monitors; ensure regular distribution of a full food basket; implement a supplementary feeding programme; and, until it can be surpassed, meet the target calories per day.

The last chart we have distributed clearly demonstrates the positive impact of the oil-for-food programme on improving the food basket. It also shows that Iraq, right now, could--though it has chosen not to--put together a food basket that would dramatically improve the nutritional status of the Iraqi people. Iraq should also establish efficient distribution networks for targeted nutrition and supplementary feeding programmes; ensure adequate funding for basic public health care; and improve delivery and administration of drugs for chronic illnesses.

With regard to the Secretary-General's recommendations for the Committee established by resolution 661 (1990), we welcome further discussion on contract payment mechanisms and oil overseers. As I noted earlier, we are working to make our contract review procedures more rapid and transparent.

We believe that resolution 1284 (1999) holds the key to realizing more fully the potential of the oil-for-food programme. This is the first time such a massive programme has been undertaken by the United Nations and the successes of the programme to date are an enormous tribute to the hard-working men and women of the United Nations, whose vision, determination and dedication have made the programme the success it is today. We look forward to an even better programme as resolution 1284 (1999) is implemented.

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