S.1 -

UN - need for Iraqi aid

HL UN envoy urges Iraq to aid foreigners;

Thousands will die without * Iraqi aid, Aga Khan warns

Byline: Marcia Kunstel


DD 09/19/90

SO Ottawa Citizen (OTT)

Edition: Final

Section: NEWS

Page: F15

Category: NEWS

Origin: AMMAN, Jordan

LP --- UN envoy urges Iraq to aid foreigners; Thousands will die * without Iraqi aid, Aga Khan warns

--- AMMAN, Jordan -- Thousands of foreigners clamoring to leave Iraq and Kuwait will die unless Iraq co-operates in arranging their evacuation, a special United Nations envoy warned Tuesday.

TX "They are suffering a lot. They need food. They need medicine. * They need shelter," said Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, who was named personal envoy for humanitarian assistance by UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar. "Some way must be found to assist these people in transit. Some way must be found in co-operation with Iraqi authorities, or these * people will die. The planes will be taking back dead bodies," Aga Khan said at a news conference. So far, Iraqi authorities have refused to co-operate with the special envoy, who wants to arrange direct flights out of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, and if necessary also out of Kuwait. Iraq turned down a direct appeal from the secretary general to work with his envoy, but efforts are continuing to win Iraq's help. * Aga Khan said the Iraqis "unfortunately are under some misconception" that his job is connected with the UN resolution permitting humanitarian shipments of food and medicine into Iraq only if their distribution is monitored by international relief agencies. * "They took this as an insult to their integrity," said Aga Khan, emphasizing that his duty is unrelated to that resolution. "My mission was to speed up the departure of third-country nationals," he said. Iraqi officials said on Tuesday that they would not try to interfere with distribution of the first major shipment of food and medicine now en route from India. The Indian ship, which is carrying supplies for Indian citizens and other foreigners in need, also has on board relief officials who will be responsible for distributing the cargo once the ship arrives in Iraq. * Aga Khan said international agencies know that 250,000 to 300,000 people are awaiting departure from Iraq, most of them camped out or living in temporary quarters around Baghdad, along the Tigris River or at their embassy grounds. But there is no solid information on how many are planning to exit Iraq, and even less intelligence on how many wish to leave Kuwait. Privately, some United Nations officials have said in recent days that the Baghdad government appears ready to use food as a political lever, in the hope that shortages among Iraqis as well as foreigners would become an embarrassment to the United States and other Western nations, and induce them to ease the sanctions. "I think there is a chance that the whole thing could rebound on Washington, once television starts to show pictures of women and children going hungry," one official said. * Aga Khan said the major concern now was with the "tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands" of Asian and Arabs still expected to flee to Jordan. He said that United Nations information on the numbers involved, and on their food supplies and medical condition, remained sketchy, but that with Iraq refusing an airlift out of Baghdad and Iran blocking an exodus across Iraq's eastern frontier, contingency plans were being made in Jordan to handle at least as many new arrivals as have already fled here, more than 600,000. "We really don't know what to expect," he said. ILLUSTRATION: File photo/ Held: Iraqi soldier and tank guard hotel with foreigners in Kuwait @Art: P @Art: File photo/ Held: Iraqi soldier and tank guard hotel with foreigners in Kuwait

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