UAE sends humanitarian aid flight to Baghdadgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
October 6, 2000
News from the Gulf region - UAE sends humanitarian aid flight to Baghdad
By Rasha Owais Baghdad - The UAE yesterday joined the growing anti-sanctions campaign by sending an Emirates Boeing 777 to embargo-hit Baghdad. The UAE flight - the first by a GCC state - carried about nine tonnes of medicines and essential medical equipment. The 30-member delegation was led by Health Minister Hamad Abdul Rahman Al Madfa and included officials of the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services, Dubai Customs, Emirates, UAE businessmen, representatives of charities and Iraqi Charges d'Affaires and the Commercial Office in Dubai.
"It is an initiative by President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people," Al Madfa said.
The minister urged global society to fulfill its responsibilities and push to end the sanctions. He also exhorted international organisations to check facts, observe Iraqi suffering and the shortages of medicines and other products.
"The ten-year sanctions hit all Iraqis; children, women and elderly people, and consequently made them suffer. It changed their society's structure."
Following yesterday's visit in which an evaluation of Iraqi medical requirements was conducted, the UAE will decide on the volume of medicines to be sent on the next flight, Al Madfa said.
Asked whether solidarity flights are enough to help Iraq, Al Madfa said, "Sheikh Zayed has been constantly calling for the alleviation of the Iraqi people's suffering. We hope distress deserts Iraq."
Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Saleh Mehdi lauded the UAE's gesture and said it had always called for lifting curbs. "The UAE was expected to send a flight and we hope it schedules regular flights as UN resolution 670 does not embargo civil flights to Iraq."
A similar wish came for the Iraqi Charges d'Affaires in the UAE Abdul Razzak Hamoudi Ahmed, who expected Oman and Qatar to follow the UAE move.
"The Emirates flight is a series of UAE initiatives and it's expected to encourage other GCC states to do the same. I expect Qatar and Oman to follow suit." "We hope Emirates runs regular flights, but we know that current political and security situations could be embarrassing for such a Gulf move. We do not want to embarrass them," he added.
Al Madfa and the UAE delegation afterwards visited Saddam Central Children's hospital where ailing children of all age groups are dying.
The delegation was taken to a tour in the city where they had seen reconstruction of some damaged areas including a two-storey bridge built next to those damaged during the Gulf War and subsequent military action.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), October 06, 2000