Annan, UN official to discuss Iraq sanctionsBy MIKE CORDER
CANBERRA, Australia (February 22, 2000) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday he would discuss ways of modifying sanctions on Iraq with a senior U.N. official who recently resigned.
Hans von Sponeck quit as head of the United Nations' humanitarian projects in Iraq earlier this month, saying sanctions were not working. His resignation takes effect March 31.
Annan said he would meet Von Sponeck in New York after his tour of Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand concludes later this week.
"We will review the situation to see what steps can be taken to improve the situation," Annan told journalists in Canberra, the Australian capital.
The Security Council also is planning to review the sanctions, which were imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
The sanctions can only be lifted when Iraq proves to the Council it has rid itself of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as its long-range missiles.
The sanctions have crippled the Iraqi economy, leaving ordinary Iraqis struggling to feed and clothe themselves. Von Sponeck wanted the Security Council to separate Iraq's humanitarian needs from its disarmament.
Annan said so-called "smart sanctions," aimed specifically at leaders by, for example, freezing their bank accounts, may be the solution, "rather than making the population suffer."
Jutta Burghardt, head of the U.N. World Food Program in Iraq, also stepped down recently, saying the oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq to sell oil to help feed its people, had failed to meet the needs of 22 million Iraqis.
Western officials accused Von Sponeck of mishandling the humanitarian program in Iraq and exceeding his mandate by calling for an end to the sanctions against Baghdad.