Iraqi sanctions must end, says Campbell

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Indy Politics

Sanctions that have caused the deaths of thousands of children in Iraq should be scrapped, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Menzies Campbell, told the conference yesterday.

Sanctions that have caused the deaths of thousands of children in Iraq should be scrapped, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Menzies Campbell, told the conference yesterday.

Mr Campbell's statement came just two weeks after he published a joint paper on the United Nations with the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook.

Campaigners say the non-military sanctions cause 4,000 infant deaths every month through shortages of medicine and clean water.

Yesterday Mr Campbell gave the protesters Liberal Democrat backing for the first time. His party's decision to support the war against Saddam Hussein in 1990 now amounted to little more than "containment", he said.

Despite the sanctions, Saddam continued to impose "unspeakable terror and evil" on his own people.

"Their daily lives, save for those whose welfare and loyalty are essential for the survival of the regime, are blighted by poverty, malnutrition and ignominy. Their suffering is not caused by sanctions - it is caused by the evil exploitation of sanctions by Saddam Hussein. But remove the sanctions and you remove the opportunity for that exploitation," he said.

The British Government should fight for the lifting of all sanctions against Iraq apart from those relating to military equipment, he added.

Mr Campbell also launched an attack on the American government's planned National Missile Defence System, which would require the use of a British airbase. The "son of Star Wars" system would break the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty and could unleash an Asian nuclear arms race, he said.

Mr Campbell backed the British Government's intervention in Sierra Leone. Britain should consider sending a battalion of troops to support the United Nations, he added.

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