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From Andrew.Bacelis@directory.reed.edu (Andrew Bacelis)
Date 27 Feb 2000 17:02:27 PST
Subject globe_l: von Sponeck to report on no-fly-zone airstrikes (Wash Post 2/17)

--- Forwarded Message from Peace and Justice Works <pjw@agora.rdrop.com> ---
>Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 10:42:20 -0800 (PST)
>Subject: von Sponeck to report on no-fly-zone airstrikes (Wash Post 2/17)

U.N. Aide Who Quit in Protest Plans Report on Airstrikes on Iraq
   By Colum Lynch
   Special to The Washington Post
   Thursday, February 17, 2000; Page A23
   
   UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 16--Hans von Sponeck, one of two senior U.N.
   officials who resigned this week to protest the impact of economic
   sanctions on Iraq, said today he will present a farewell report on the
   devastation caused by U.S. and British airstrikes on Iraqi territory.
   
   The career U.N. official from Germany, who is responsible for
   overseeing the distribution of humanitarian goods in Iraq, infuriated
   U.S. and British officials by writing a similar report on airstrikes
   last year. Von Sponeck's decision to revisit the issue before his
   March 31 departure was viewed by American officials as a parting act
   of defiance against the allied powers, which have pushed for his
   removal for months.
   
   In a telephone interview from his office in Baghdad, von Sponeck said
   he and Jutta Burghardt, a fellow German who is head of the World Food
   Program in Iraq, resigned after concluding that a U.N. Security
   Council resolution in December provided false hope that the suffering
   of ordinary Iraqis would soon be eased.
   
   "I do not want to be associated with a Band-Aid that is inadequate to
   end the plight of the civilian population," von Sponeck said.
   
   U.N. officials in New York originally claimed this week that
   Burghardt's departure was coincidental. But she told reporters in
   Baghdad today that she was quitting in solidarity with von Sponeck. "I
   fully support what Mr. von Sponeck is saying," she said.
   
   The United Nations and the Iraqi government are at an impasse over the
   December resolution, which offered to suspend some sanctions if Iraq
   cooperates with a new arms inspection commission. Iraq has refused to
   allow the inspectors to return.
   
   Meanwhile, U.S. and British jets patrolling "no-fly" zones in northern
   and southern Iraq have been responding to antiaircraft fire with
   almost daily airstrikes.
   
   State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said von Sponeck's plan to
   report on the airstrikes underscores his tendency to exceed his
   authority and to rely on Iraqi propaganda. "He has a habit of
   reporting Iraqi claims of casualties from the air attacks without
   having the ability to verify those claims," Rubin said.
   
   While conceding that he relied heavily on Iraqi sources for his
   previous report, von Sponeck said U.N. staff workers witnessed 23 of
   the 99 airstrikes investigated by his office. He said he personally
   witnessed three attacks.
   
                 Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company


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