Letter: Iraq still in agony

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Britain's proposal to lift the export embargo on Iraq ("Britain tries to lift Iraq curbs", 17 June) is a disingenuous attempt to persuade us of our government's concern for the welfare of the people of Iraq, suffering for nearly nine years under the most comprehensive economic sanctions ever imposed by the UN.

The British proposal will at best result after eight months in some foreign investment in the oil industry and a suspension of the export embargo, but will maintain the current controls on imports, thereby allowing Britain and the US to continue their long-standing policy of obstructing the import of goods requested by Iraq.

Further, Iraq required massive investment to repair the estimated $232bn of infrastructural damage, especially to the electricity, water and sewage sectors, caused by bombing during the Gulf war in 1991. The current proposal does not address this need and, without such repairs, the humanitarian situation will not improve and children will continue to die.

The only way to end the suffering of the Iraqi people is immediately and unconditionally to lift the economic sanctions.

ANDREA NEEDHAM

Voices in the Wilderness UK

London N2

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