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Update - Te Kaha/Iraq
16 December 1999
The frigate Te Kaha is on its way back here (via Diego Garcia and Fremantle) after a six week deployment in the Gulf enforcing the economic sanctions which are killing the people of Iraq. It will arrive in Auckland on 23 December. Along with the crews of all NZ navy vessels, the crew of Te Kaha will then go on Christmas leave.
We had hoped to bring you news of the vote in the Security Council on the new draft resolution which would return arms inspectors to Iraq and possibly result in a lifting of the sanctions. The vote was originally scheduled for Monday 13 December, but has been delayed each day while consensus is sought amongst Security Council members - the primary division still seems to be amongst US and Britain who are in favour of ‘impossible’ goals before sanctions are eased in any way, and the Russian and Chinese governments who wish to see goals that can be met quickly to allow lifting of the sanctions as soon as possible.
The Iraqi government has urged Russia, China and France to vote against the draft resolution saying it is filled with new restrictions and unacceptable conditions. The draft resolution would set up a new agency UNMOVIC (UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Committee) to replace UNSCOM which was withdrawn from Iraq last December when Britain and the US stepped up their bombing of Iraq.
It provides for the lifting of the cap on the oil-for-food programme; streamlines the goods Iraq would be allowed to purchase and removes the requirement of the Security Council sanctions committee to scrutinise all imports to Iraq; the Iraqi’s would be allowed to purchase parts and equipment to upgrade their run down oil fields; and if Iraq complied with the UNMOVIC’s demands, foreign companies would be allowed to invest in Iraqi oil fields.
The wrangles about this resolution look set to continue in the Security Council, with no firm date now set for the vote - meanwhile, thousands of Iraqi people die every month as a result of diseases and malnutrition linked to the effects of the economic sanctions.
Return to main page on Iraq.