Members of nine Arab parliaments appealed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday to seek the immediate lifting of sanctions on Iraq which they said had amounted to genocide, according to a Reuters report the same day.
Around 20 MPs representing the assemblies of Morocco, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Algiers, Libya, Egypt, Tunisian and Palestinian areas, on a solidarity visit to Iraq, joined Iraqi deputies at a protest outside the UN offices in Baghdad.
"The purpose of the visit is to show the solidarity of the Arab peoples with the Iraqi people in their struggle to get the unfair sanctions lifted that have been imposed on them," Arab Parliamentary Union secretary-general Nureddin Boshkuj told AFP Sunday.
The Arab MPs handed over a written appeal to Annan through United Nations Development Program representative Francis Dubois, demanding the intervention of the secretary-general to end the ''big power hegemony” over the international body.
“The common international interest of the members of the United Nations confirms the need for the immediate lifting of the embargo imposed upon the people of Iraq,” the letter said.
Lifting the sanctions “is the only manner in which international legitimacy may be restored and the United Nations spared being party to what has already amounted to genocide,” it added.
The head of the Arab delegation, Secretary of the Libyan People's General Conference (parliament speaker) Sheikh Zenati Mohamed Zenati, said that Arabs wanted their voices to be heard.
“We have expressed the opinion of the peoples on the injustice...Things have reached a level that we can't remain silent any more,” he told reporters.
Iraq says the sanctions, imposed since the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, have killed around 1.5 million civilians, mainly children.
The sanctions are highly unpopular in the Arab world where they are seen as punishing the Iraqi people and not President Saddam Hussein – (Agencies)
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