LETTERS:UN policies do not help Iraqi people

From Mr Geoff Simons Sir: It is misleading for Mr Faisal Al-Sabah (Letters, 17 January) to suggest that Iraqi agreement to UN Resolutions 706 and 712 would significantly relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people. Resolution 706 (15 August 1991), allowingthe sale of $1.6 bn-worth of Iraqi oil, imposes various important conditions. The revenue, to be paid into a UN escrow account and administered by the secretary-general, would not be used solely for the purchase of food and medicine.

It would be used also (706, paragraph 2) for administration of the scheme, and (paragraph 3) for unspecified payments to the UN Compensation Fund (from which Kuwait would expect to benefit), to fund the many tasks specified in Resolution 687(C), to fund the return of Kuwaiti property from Iraq, and to meet half the costs of the Boundary Commission. Resolution 712 (19 September 1991), noting "further deterioration" in the health of the Iraqi people, adds little to 706.

This means that probably less than half of the revenue might be used for the benefit of "the 17 million Iraqis who are captives" of Saddam Hussein's "cruel regime"; i.e. the Iraqi people, now suffering widespread disease, malnutrition and starvation, would benefit to the tune of about $30 each.

The situation has massively deteriorated since 1991, when Resolutions 706 and 712 were drafted. Mr Faisal Al-Sabah should take no pride in supporting UN policies that are today killing Iraqi children at the rate of 100,000 a year.

Yours sincerely, Geoff Simons Stockport, Cheshire 17 January The writer is author of `Iraq; From Sumer to Saddam' (Macmillan, 1994).