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Written Answers. - Security Council Resolution.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 43. Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin Information on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin Zoom on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  his views on whether the present proposals before the Security Council sponsored by the United Kingdom and the United States do not address the need for restoring the infrastructure of Iraq that is so vital for the recovery of society; his further views on whether encouraging the inflow of consumer goods while at the same time impeding the recovery of the basic economic and social infrastructure will be to the benefit of the general population of Iraq who are suffering now and who will continue to suffer; the progress which has been made on achieving an alternative to Resolution 1284 of the UN in relation to Iraq; the progress he has made in having sanctions lifted in relation to urgently needed equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10268/02]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen Iraq refuses to comply with Security Council Resolution 1284, adopted in December 1999, which established a new arms inspection body, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, UNMOVIC. Resolution 1284 provides for the suspension and eventual lifting of sanctions if the Government of Iraq allows arms inspections to be renewed. Resolution 1382, adopted by the Security Council on 29 November 2001, commits the Council to conclude negotiations on reform of sanctions by 1 June 2002 and agreed, if necessary, to examine whether clarifications are needed in respect of Resolution 1284.

At present, the council is working on refining and agreeing a goods review list and the procedures for the application of that list. This is intended to relax restrictions on Iraq's imports of civilian goods, eliminate holds on contracts for essential infrastructural projects, and to tighten controls on military items. The application of the goods review list will reverse the basis of sanctions from a general prohibition to one based solely on a specific and limited list of prohibited items of possible military application.

Ireland welcomed Resolution 1382 and we were active in achieving its adoption. In our view, the proposed reform of the sanctions should substantially improve the humanitarian situation in Iraq.

[783]Necessary consumer goods, such as food, medicines and other commodities, will continue to be imported, though Ireland is concerned that the UN humanitarian programme should also focus on the restoration of the basic social and economic infrastructure. In the discussions in the Security Council Ireland has sought progress on other elements necessary to lay the basis for the long-term development needs of Iraq, including a cash component for the oil for food programme, and the lifting of restrictions on service contracts and foreign investment.

The Government continues to call on Iraq to comply fully with the demands of the Security Council which would make it possible for the suspension and eventual lifting of the sanctions. We have also called on Iraq to co-operate with the UN humanitarian programme. The UN Secretary General has pointed to serious difficulties and obstacles placed by the Government of Iraq in the way of the effective implementation of that programme, resulting in unnecessary hardship to its own people. He has also stated that sufficient funds are available through the programme for Iraq to address the nutritional and health needs of the population, particularly those of children.

The Government is gravely concerned at the humanitarian situation in Iraq. Ireland, as a member of the Security Council, will remain committed to eliminating the suffering caused to the people of Iraq. This is all the more urgent in the present international context.

Question No. 44 answered with Question No. 31.

Question No. 45 answered with Question No. 32.

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