Sanctions kill up to 6,000 a month in Iraq

LONDON, Jan 28 (South News) - Former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq Dennis Halliday said that sanctions against Iraq were leading to up to 6,000 deaths a month in an interview published here Wednesday.

In an interview with British Daily The Guardian and reported the by Agence France Presse (AFP) Halliday said that after 8 years, the sanctions should be considered as a kind of war as they cause the death of 5,000 to 6,000 persons per month. "We must find another solution," he pleaded.

A UN official for more than 30 years, Halliday left Baghdad after 13 months of supervising implementation of the 1996 deal which allows Iraq to sell limited quantities of crude to buy humanitarian supplies.Halliday, 67, an Irishman and a former diplomat, resigned last September from his job overseeing the Iraqi oil-for-food programme in protest at continuing sanctions.

Last week he came out in favour of French proposals to end the crisis with Iraq, saying the country's people were facing "genocide". He said the French proposals to lift the oil embargo against Baghdad while maintaining tight arms controls were "viable".

On Wednesday, he was quoted by the  Guardian as saying that Britain and the United States were "jointly responsible" for killing thousands of Iraqis who die in poverty because of the sanctions. "I am convinced that sanctions as a tool do not work," he said.

He dismissed suggestions from London and Washington that Baghdad itself hindered the distribution of goods to the population, saying: "It's not true. The UN monitors every bag of rice, sack of wheat. We know where it goes."The fact is that oil-for-food is a failure. Anything that sustains malnutrition at 30 percent and leads to the death of so many thousands is a failure."

Halliday was recently  the recipient of the 1999 North-South cooperation prize set up in 1991 by Moroccan intellectual Mehdi El Mandjra.