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Friday, 29 June, 2001, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Iraq outburst over UN sanctions
Iraqi oil field
Iraq rejects the oil-for-food sanctions programme
By Greg Barrow at the United Nations

A senior Iraqi official has attacked members of the United Nations Security Council who support the introduction of a new sanctions regime against Baghdad.

Riyadh al-Qaysi, an under-secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, accused Britain and the United States of trying to take control of Iraq's business.

The so-called smart sanctions are but a new facet of neo-colonialism. We refuse.

Riyadh al-Qaysi, Iraqi envoy
He rubbished the UN oil-for-food programme, and said that Iraq had no intention of co-operating with any new sanctions regime.

In a display rarely seen on the floor of the Security Council, Mr al-Qaysi berated the ambassadors for two hours.

Waving sheaves of paper and engaging some ambassadors with eye-contact, he rejected the whole idea of sanctions against Iraq and accused the UN of flagrantly wasting money while heaping yet more suffering on the backs of the Iraqi people.

Withering attack

He said the UN had spent more money on feeding and caring for dogs that it had brought in as part of a de-mining programme than it had in ensuring the welfare of Iraqi civilians.

It was a withering attack timed to coincide with new divisions in the Council over plans for a new sanctions regime.

Iraqi women collects monthly food ration
Life under sanctions is grim for ordinary Iraqis
The UK and US have been sponsoring the proposed new policy, which they say is designed to improve the flow of civilian goods into Iraq, while restricting the Iraqi government's ability to flout sanctions and buy components to rebuild its weaponry.

Earlier in the week, Russia announced that it could no longer support the proposed reforms and demanded a different approach that would lead to a swift lifting of sanctions.

But UK and US officials say they will not be distracted from their efforts to strive for agreement on a new sanctions regime - the Americans described the Iraqi accusations as fatally flawed.

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See also:

18 Jun 01 | Middle East
Iraq 'by-passing sanctions'
05 Jun 01 | Middle East
UN debates Iraq sanctions
16 May 01 | Middle East
Iraq's neighbours warned on sanctions
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