Iraqi Agriculture Minister Abdel Ilah Hamid Saleh has called on the United Nations to resume the sending of agricultural aid to alleviate the drought affecting the country. The minister launched his appeal here Wednesday as he received visiting UN Iraqi programme chief Benon Sevan and UN humanitarian coordinator Tun Myat, the official INA agency reported.
Saleh told his visitors of the "machinations of the American and British representatives on the UN sanctions committee and the suspension of agricultural sector contracts," which he said had aggravated the effects of the drought.
Iraq has been hit by drought for the past three years, leading to a 45-percent drop in the level of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in 1999 and hitting crops and livestock. Under an international embargo since 1990, Iraq is allowed to sell oil to buy food under a six-month renewable programme.
© Agence France Presse 2000