I.P.O. Information Service
Vienna, 19 February 2002/P/RE/17481c-is
The President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, has met today at the head office of the I.P.O. in Vienna with the former United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Mr. Hans von Sponeck. Mr. Sponeck briefed Dr. Koechler on the obstacles to the humanitarian work in Iraq which caused his resignation in the year 2000, and he discussed ways and means of alerting international public opinion concerning the suffering of the people of Iraq caused by the comprehensive sanctions imposed on the country since nearly 12 years. It is to be recalled that the predecessor of Mr. von Sponeck as United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Mr. Denis Halliday, also resigned (in 1998) because of the obstruction of his humanitarian mission in Iraq.
In a 10-point Memorandum forwarded yesterday to the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Dr. Han Seung-Soo, and to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the President of the International Progress Organization outlined the challenges for the United Nations Organization resulting from the continued economic sanctions policy against the people of Iraq and from the recent threat of the use of force against Iraq. The President of the I.P.O. reiterated the organization’s view that the United Nations sanctions policy vis-à-vis Iraq violates fundamental human rights and that the recently advanced proposal for so-called “smart sanctions” is not practicable and furthermore constitutes an infringement upon the political independence of Iraq, which is inadmissible under the UN Charter. In addition to that, the United Nations arms monitoring in Iraq has been completely discredited because of its abuse for intelligence purposes by one of the permanent members of the Security Council. UNSCOM’s operations have not been carried out in good faith and have been used to prolong the sanctions against Iraq indefinitely, the Memorandum explains.
Referring to the fact that the Security Council is incapable to undertake any action for the safeguarding of international peace and security in the present case – because the threat of the unilateral use of force against Iraq emanates from one of the Council’s permanent members –, the President of the I.P.O. emphasized the urgent need for collective action by the member states represented in the United Nations General Assembly. In his concluding remarks he stated: “The further existence of the United Nations Organization as an entity of multilateral action, for the sake of collective security and peace, is in jeopardy if the unilateral use of force by its most powerful member state remains unopposed. What the peoples of the world – solemnly referred to in the Preamble of the United Nations Charter – need most, and indeed deserve, at this juncture of history, is personal courage and a strong and unequivocal commitment to peace on the part of the holders of high office in the United Nations system.”
END / Iraq – United Nations / 02-19-2002/P/RE/17481c-is