A "broad consensus" is emerging in the UN Security Council on modifying UN sanctions against Iraq, ahead of next week's Arab League summit in Jordan, a senior State Department official said Wednesday, March 22.
Among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, "We think there is a broad consensus... on the direction we want to go," said Edward Walker, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.
US officials have already discussed their proposal with Britain, France and Russia, he said. The fifth permanent member of the Security Council is China.
"The sanctions had become a club for Saddam Hussein to use against us," Walker said. "It was clear that we had to take a different approach."
Secretary of State Colin Powell, during a trip to the Gulf region in late February, announced Washington's intention to restructure the sanctions regime in place against Iraq, focusing more on military purchases and less on civilian ones.
The sanctions have been the subject of mounting criticism. Opponents charge that they hurt Iraqi civilians without harming Saddam Hussein's regime and even British policymakers — until now aligned with the United States on this issue — have reportedly been increasingly ready to look at other option. — (AFP, Washington)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)