USIS Washington 


Daily Highlights
Thursday, 7 May, 1998

This daily news round-up is prepared by the Central News Section,
Office of Communication, Department of Public Information of the
United Nations.


-- Head of UN Special Commission recommends travel restrictions
against Iraqi officials be lifted.

-- Iraq to submit distribution plan for humanitarian aid under UN
oil-for-food programme.



The chief UN arms inspector has recommended that the Security Council
lift the travel restrictions it imposed against Iraqi officials.

Richard Butler, the Executive Chairman of the United Nations Special
Commission (UNSCOM), which oversees the dismantling of Iraq's weapons
of mass destruction, says Iraq has met the requirements for ending the
travel ban. The Security Council imposed the restrictions in November
1997 against Iraqi officials who interfered with UN arms inspections.

In a letter released on Wednesday, to the President of the Council,
Mr. Butler said Iraq had granted unrestricted and unconditional access
to all sites -- including those it designated "sensitive" and
"presidential" -- that UNSCOM wished to inspect.

Iraq had also granted the Commission unrestricted access to various
equipment, Mr. Butler wrote. However, it had not yet provided access
to records which the Commission had previously requested. He said he
hoped the Iraqi Government would provide these records.

In the next few days, Iraq was expected to submit its draft
distribution plan for food and medicine it is allowed to import under
the UN's oil-for-food programme, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

Eric Falt, the spokesman for the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq,
told correspondents in Baghdad that when the plan was ready it would
be forwarded to the Secretary-General. He said the Government was now
finalizing the various sectoral components, with direct input from the
UN on the share to be allocated to northern Iraq. Representatives of
the technical ministries had also been working closely with UN
agencies, but the Government had final responsibility for the
document, he added.

The target for the new and enhanced humanitarian allocation was $3
billion, up from $1.3 billion in phases I, II, and III of the
oil-for-food programme, he said, adding that expenditures depended on
available revenues and on how much oil Iraq was able to pump.

Mr. Falt said the current nutritional and health status of the Iraqi
people had received a lot of attention in government reports and the
media. However, educational needs were enormous and they affected the
future and the spirit of millions of Iraqi school children and
university students. "It is critical that the Government be able to
rebuild the entire eduction system as quickly as possible, in order to
recover from initial damages and now from a severe lack of funding,"
he added.