Iraqi War Reparations
Sir, - It is hard to believe that 10 years after the ending of the Gulf War the Iraqi Government is still paying substantial war reparations. 30 per cent of all oil that Iraq exports under the UN Food for Oil programme is being sent directly to a War Reparations Tribunal operating under the auspices of the UN in Geneva. In fact, 250 people are working full-time on applications from companies who claim that they have suffered financial losses as a result of the Gulf War.
Between November 18th and 24th last, the Iraqi government exported $470 million dollars worth of oil. This means that in that week alone, it paid over $140 million dollars in war reparations.
All the monies which are forwarded to what is known as the UN Compensation Commission on Iraq are then distributed by a committee working under the auspices of the UN Security Council. All applications for compensation are dealt with strictly in private so interested parties, including the Irish public are never aware as to the amounts of money distributed by this committee to all applicant companies.
The fact that the Iraqi Government is still paying war reparations is hardly going to engender warmer relations between Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries and with the Western world itself. In fact, it will only lead to the building up of even more deep-seated hatred by the 22 million Iraqi people to western powers and, most particularly, the American and British governments.
I believe economic sanctions against Iraq are inherently flawed. They have abysmally failed to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. It is now time for a complete root and branch review of UN policies towards Iraq which must include the abolition of the vast majority of economic sanctions against Iraq and also the ending of the existence of the UN War Tribunal on Iraq.
As the Iraqi Government pays over $500 million dollars a month now in war reparations, 5,000 Iraqi children die per month as a result of the lack of adequate food and medicinal supplies. Is this really the outcome that we sought when UN sanctions against Iraq were originally imposed? - Yours etc.,
Niall Andrews MEP, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.