Ron F | 24.01.2002 20:21
A Welsh MEP broke international sanctions in the European Parliament this week with the symbolic sale of dates from Iraq. The action was in protest against these sanctions that it is claimed have caused the deaths of 500,000 children.
Speaking from Brussels, where he joined Green MEP Caroline Lucas in the illegal sale of dates, Plaid Cymru MEP Eurig Wyn said: "Information from independent humanitarian aid sources clearly show that food and medicine in Iraq are in short supply and the country's infrastructure - health service and water supplies - is in tatters, leading to the deaths of innocent children.
"These sanctions were imposed to force Saddam Hussein to allow UN inspectors to check on potential weapon-making plants. They have not worked and have hit the ordinary people of Iraq hard. UNICEF, the UN's children's fund, estimates that the sanctions have been a factor in the deaths of 500,000 children."
Dates were Iraq's second biggest export prior to its invasion of Kuwait. However, following the Gulf War ten years ago, the country has only been permitted to export oil through a UN-run programme. Sale of any other product is an imprisonable offence.
The dates have been bought from Iraq by Voices in the Wilderness, a group that wants the sanctions to end so that Iraqis can start trading again and re-build essential facilities, a view shared by many MEPs.
Source: Eurig Wyn MEP
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