Iraq: Annan would welcome measures to ease impact of sanctions on civilians
Mr. Annan made his comments during a press conference in Geneva, where he was asked about a reported British draft resolution on the issue. "The Council as a whole will have to consider it and take some decisions," he replied, noting that he had postponed a second round of meetings with a high-level Baghdad delegation until the Council has completed its review of the issue.
"I do not know how long it will take the Council to act," Mr. Annan observed, adding, "There are some suggestions that they should conclude their deliberations in time for the extension of the oil-for-food scheme on 6 June, as we enter the tenth phase."
Asked about specific provisions of the British proposal, the Secretary-General noted widespread concern about "the impact of sanctions on the average Iraqi, on the Iraqi economy, and particularly on children." He endorsed "any attempts that would ease the impact of sanctions on the population and allow the people to have a normal life."
The oil-for-food programme was set up by Security Council resolution 986 in April 1995 as a "temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people." The first oil under the programme was exported in December 1996 and the first shipments of food arrived the following March.