Tuesday, 7 July 1992
Dáil Éireann Debate
32. Mr. McCartan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the hardship now being endured by the civilian population of Iraq, the Government will urge the lifting of all non-military sanctions against that country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Andrews): The sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations Security Council prevent imports from, and exports to, Iraq but they make exceptions in respect of foodstuffs, medicines and materials and supplies for other essential civilian needs.
Furthermore, the Security Council agree that Iraq could export petroleum products up to the value of 1.6 billion US dollars, the sum to be paid into an account administered by the Secretary General and to serve principally to finance the purchase of food, medicines and essential civilian needs. The Security Council has also provided that funds from other sources may be deposited in that account and be immediately available to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi population.
The suffering of the Iraqi civilian population is a matter of great concern but it must be made clear that the responsibility for this situation lies with Saddam Hussein. The issue here is not one of availability of resources; Iraq is rich in oil resources. It is the persistent refusal of the Iraqi regime to comply in full with Security Council resolutions that has led to the hardships being endured by the civilian population.
 In February, Saddam Hussein broke off negotiations with the United Nations which were intended to permit the sale of Iraqi oil to enable essential civilian needs in Iraq to be met. I am glad to say that those negotiations have resumed since then, and that the UN Secretary-General has said that Iraq is now taking a positive attitude as regards the implementation of UN resolutions although it has not yet implemented all of them.
I hope the Iraqi authorities will co-operate fully with the Security Council and will reach agreement with the UN on the sale of oil in order to ensure much-needed relief and assistance for the people of Iraq.
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