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Iraq Blasts Sanctions at U.N. Food Summit

November 15, 1996

ROME (AP) _ Iraq seized the forum provided by the U.N. World Food Summit to denounce U.N.-imposed sanctions, saying Friday that they were depriving Iraqis of food and the ability to grow it.

Iraq has been under U.N. sanctions since it invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Sanctions ``turn rich states into poor ones, like what happened to my country,″ Iraqi vice president Taha Muhiddin Marouf told summit participants.

``The Iraqi people were deprived of importing basic materials, which contribute to the process of agricultural production, and were even deprived of one of their basic rights, which is obtaining food,″ he complained.

Iraq’s complaints were bolstered by Pope John Paul II, who condemned economic embargoes and the use of food as a political tool in opening the international summit Wednesday.

Sudan’s president, Lt. Gen. Omar el-Bashir, also took up the cause, urging the ``lifting of (the) embargo off the shoulders of peoples and countries as it constitutes a violation of their basic human rights.″

A U.N. deal that would let Baghdad sell some oil to buy food and medicine has been held up because of Baghdad’s intervention in Kurdish fighting in northern Iraq. The plan would allow Iraq to export oil and use the profits to buy humanitarian supplies.

Also at the summit:

_ Afghanistan’s ousted President Burhanuddin Rabbani appealed for international help to end factional warfare in his country and for the return of thousands of refugees who have fled to Pakistan and Iran.

_ Chinese Premier Li Peng attacked the idea of making aid conditional on improved human rights _ a sensitive issue between Washington and Beijing.

``In providing aid to the developing countries, the developed countries must not attach any political condition, still less use aid as a tool for interference in the internal affairs of other countries,″ Li said.

_ Burundi’s prime minister, Firmin Pascal Ndimira, urged the establishment of special ``isolation camps″ for those accused of taking part in the genocides in Burundi and neighboring Rwanda.

_ The summit host, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, appealed for $4.9 million in donations to supply seeds and farm tools to refugees returning to Burundi and Rwanda and to displaced Zairians.

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