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5/14/03 - LIFTING IRAQ SANCTIONS - 2003-05-15

The United States, Britain, and Spain have introduced a draft United Nations Security Council resolution that would end the sanctions imposed on Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The resolution would also create an Iraqi Assistance Fund for reconstruction and relief efforts.

As U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, ending the sanctions will help Iraqis to become self-sufficient once again.

“Lifting the sanctions allows the Iraqi people to engage in normal commerce, to have a normal economy, to trade, to invest, to work, to buy things, to develop their own economy and develop their own resources. As they do that, unlike under the Saddam Hussein regime, they will have the wherewithal to buy their own food, to buy their own medicine, to take care of themselves, without depending on a feeding system that’s powered by the Oil-for-Food program.”

The devastation left by the Saddam Hussein regime makes clear how urgent it is to lift sanctions. The U.S. Agency for International Development estimates that five-million Iraqis are at risk from lack of access to safe water and sanitation, and that less than half of Iraq’s rural population has access to potable water. According to a recent study, agricultural production in Iraq has dropped forty percent since 1990. This was due in part to the Saddam Hussein regime’s decision to drain southern marshlands, in his campaign to suppress the Marsh Arabs. Agriculture also failed because Saddam Hussein’s cronies had disproportionate access to seeds, equipment, and capital.

The Saddam Hussein regime no longer rules Iraq. No one in good conscience can support sanctions that now block the hopes of the Iraqi people.