Annan calls for more effective UN sanctions, in Iraq and elsewhere

Published November 16th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan called Wednesday, November 15, for more effective UN sanctions, saying they should come with built-in incentives for good behavior. 

 

"States against which sanctions are imposed must believe that if their behavior changes, the Security Council is genuinely willing to alleviate, suspend or lift the sanctions," he said. 

 

"Otherwise, they have no real incentive to comply, and ultimately compliance is the only measure of success." 

 

The council is more deeply divided over Iraqi sanctions than over any other question. 

Two of its five permanent members, France and Russia, have authorized humanitarian flights to Iraq in what the United States has described as a challenge to the sanctions regime. 

 

Annan was speaking at a dinner hosted by the International Rescue Committee, a non-governmental organization which works closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. 

 

He acknowledged that sanctions could be used to change the behavior of a government which posed a threat to international peace and security. 

 

They had been effective in persuading Libya to hand over two suspects now on trial before an international court in The Netherlands for the 1988 bombing of PanAm flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, he said. 

 

But sanctions imposed on Iraq to get it to scrap its weapons of mass destruction had been blamed for a worsening humanitarian crisis, he said. 

 

"I deeply regret the continuing suffering of the Iraqi people and hope that the sanctions imposed on Iraq can be lifted sooner rather than later," he said. 

 

"Over time, the existence of a sanctions regime almost inevitably transforms an entire society for the worse, as sanctions-evaders, smugglers and the like rise to the top of the socio-economic ladder," he went on. 

 

"If we want to punish, let us punish the guilty; and if we want to bring about change, let us target the powerful, not the powerless," he said. 

 

But, Annan added, it was not enough to make sanctions "smarter" by, for example, freezing the foreign bank accounts of individuals and curbing their travel abroad. 

 

"The imposition of sanctions needs to be seen as an instrument that is fairly and evenly applied in good faith," he said. "This means that there must be carrots as well as sticks."— (AFP)  

 

© Agence France Presse 2000  

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