DAILY CATHOLIC FRI-SAT-SUN October 2-4, 1998 vol. 9, no. 193
NEWS & VIEWS
UN, VATICAN OFFICIALS DENOUNCE EMBARGO ON IRAQ AS VATICAN APPEALS FOR EASING INTERNATIONAL DEBT
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- After a UN official resigned his position in the Middle East, complaining about the effects of international sanctions on the people of Iraq, the Vatican nuncio in that country said that "the one certain effect of the sanctions is the enormous suffering for the entire population, and especially for the poor and defenseless."
Denis Halliday, coordinator of the UN's "oil for food" program in Iraq, resigned in protest against sanctions which he said "harm an innocent population." Interviewed yesterday by Vatican Radio, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto agreed that the embargo against Iraq should be lifted.
"The lifting of sanctions would be not only a gesture of solidarity, but the only real gesture of solidarity which Iraq needs," the papal representative said. He added that every nation should have the right "to enjoy the conditions of normal life."
The international embargo on Iraq, now in place of eight years, " does not help the countries that imposed it, and does not affect the government" of Iraq, according to Halliday-- an Irish diplomat who has served the UN for 30 years, and spent the past year in Iraq. But the sanctions have "definitely weakened the Iraqi population," he reported. He cited a sharp rise in infant mortality, and a spree of crime, which was previously almost unknown in Iraq.
Meanwhile, in an appeal to international financial institutions, Bishop Francois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan-- the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace-- has called for "decisive progress" to resolve the burden of external debt on developing countries.
In order to preserve the hopes of people in impoverished countries, the archbishop said, world leaders must take action now, without delay. His pleas was issued as the governors of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund prepare for their annual meeting in Washington next week.
Archbishop Van Thuan paid tribute to the lenders who had already
taken action to relieve the debt burden, but added that the same
steps "should be adopted for the entire world, more rapidly and in
the most flexible manner." He emphasized that the question of
international debt "cannot be postponed any longer," and urged the
need for a solution in time for the Jubilee Year. He cited the words of
Pope John Paul II, in Tertio Millennio Adveniente, in suggesting that
the Jubilee could be "a favorable time" to consider "an important
reduction, if not the complete erasure" of international debts.
Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
NEWS & VIEWS