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Year 2001 No. 163, September 28, 2001 ARCHIVE HOME SEARCH SUBSCRIBE

UN Security Council Concerned at Afghanistan Humanitarian Crisis

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

UN Security Council Concerned at Afghanistan Humanitarian Crisis

Terrorism Debate in General Assembly to Involve over 100 Countries

Iraq Condemns US Terrorism

Iran Refuses Participation in US-led Attacks

Israeli Intelligence Implicated In Attacks on United States

IMF Warns of World Economic Recession

Statement of Arab Communist and Workers Parties

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UN Security Council Concerned at Afghanistan Humanitarian Crisis

Security Council members on September 27 expressed deep concern at the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and said the world community was "ready and determined" to lend the country and its neighbours desperately needed help.

Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France, which this month holds the rotating presidency of the 15-member UN body, said, "Members of the Council called on the Taleban immediately to remove all restrictions on the supply of desperately needed humanitarian aid, including those on food supplies and humanitarian relief workers."

Council members said that the international community stood "ready and determined" to respond urgently and generously to the repeated calls by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UN agencies for assistance for the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries. The statement recognised "the particular pressures" of potential refugee flows on Afghanistan’s neighbours, especially Pakistan and Iran, and said specific help for those countries was needed.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also said that, all told, UN agencies will need $584 million for the refugees. He cited withering drought and more than two decades of war that already have forced 5 million Afghans to flee their homes. Officials estimate the number could rise to 7.5 million. UN workers only have access to parts of the north controlled by the Northern Alliance of Afghan opposition groups fighting the Taleban, Annan said. "For many other parts of the country we do not have access or security for our staff," he said. "If it is deemed to be technically feasible, we may have to consider airdrops."

Other UN officials met on Thursday in Berlin with government representatives from 14 Western donor countries and Russia as well as aid organisations in an emergency session called by Germany to rally the humanitarian response. UN Undersecretary-General Kenzo Oshima, who attended the meeting, warned of "a humanitarian crisis of tremendous proportions is in the making."

UN agencies and other aid organisations continue to operate camps for displaced people and food delivery with the help of hundreds of Afghan staff, but lack of international humanitarian access is hastening the deterioration of the situation. No additional food supplies can be delivered to Afghanistan at the moment and the World Food Programme estimates that food reserves in the country will be exhausted within two to three weeks.

A joint statement signed by the heads of the UN agencies and programmes dealing with children (UNICEF), refugees (UNHCR), human rights (UNHCHR), food security (WFP), emergency co-ordination (OCHA) and development (UNDP) was issued on September 24. It said: "We call on the entire international community – especially the countries in the region – to help prevent further tragedy by supporting humanitarian relief efforts, by pressing for safe access to all populations in need, by assuring the safety and security of relief personnel, by supporting all measures that lessen the chance of a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, and by opening borders to those in need." The United Nations relief agencies also appealed to the world community to keep in mind basic tenets of international law in addressing the problem of terrorism.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) said in report dated September 27, "Humanitarian prospects worsened sharply in Afghanistan in September 2001 due to developments both inside and outside the country." The report continued: "Fears of a possible US reprisal have triggered a population exodus from major Afghan cities, both towards other points in Afghanistan and towards the country’s borders. International staff of most relief agencies have also withdrawn, leaving the status of relief programmes in question at a critical moment. In addition, even prior to the September 11 there were signs that relations between the international community and the Taleban were worsening significantly. These new developments have added to an existing crisis of extensive displacement stemming from civil conflict and a debilitating three-year drought."

Peter Kessler, Spokesperson for UNHCR, said on September 27, "Of the sites surveyed yesterday, some of them were in such drought-stricken zones that the water table might be as deep as 1,000 meters, which will complicate any relief effort, and drive-up costs enormously. We will certainly be investigating the possibility of tankering water into areas where we may have to establish settlements."

Article Index



Terrorism Debate in General Assembly to Involve over 100 Countries

The United Nations General Assembly’s forthcoming debate on international terrorism will include the participation of over 100 countries, a UN spokesman announced on September 27.

"As of this morning, 136 speakers were inscribed on the list, mainly at the level of Permanent Representative," Jan Fischer, spokesman for the President of the General Assembly, told reporters at a press briefing in New York. He added that "this number is expected to grow" as the 1 October start date approaches.

With the list of speakers still open, Jan Fischer said it would be difficult to gauge the length of the debate, but noted that if 150 representatives spoke for around 12 minutes each, it would be necessary to convene meetings for five full days.

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Iraq Condemns US Terrorism

Iraq’s Foreign Minister said on Thursday, September 27, that the United States’ campaign to hunt down the perpetrators of the attacks on US landmarks was tantamount to blackmail and terrorism.

Naji Sabri told the pan-Arab al-Jazeera satellite channel in an interview, "There is a campaign of psychological terrorism and blackmail. A sign of this blackmail was when the US president said: ‘Those who don’t support us are supporting terrorism.’" He said, "This is why everyone rushed to make announcements and declarations to criticise what happened in America."

Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said pledges of support by capitals around the world to the US call represented "proof of terrorism practised by the United States". He continued, "These statements issued here and there are not a proof of support or a proof of joining what is called a coalition."

According to a report by Iraqi TV on September 26, the Iraq Foreign Minister has also pointed out that Britain and the United States carry out daily acts of terrorism against the Iraqi people by continuing their combat sorties from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and targeting the innocent people in the residential areas in Iraq.

During a meeting with a Russian media delegation led by Yuriy Shafranik, head of the committee on international co-operation, scientific, and business co-operation with Iraq, Naji Sabri said: "The US policy has caused the death of more than 1.6 million Iraqi citizens. This is in addition to other negative repercussions of continuing the crime of the unjust blockade, which has been imposed on Iraq for over 11 years, represented in starvation, spread of epidemics and pollution."

He added: "The US officials began to point fingers of accusation in every direction as part of their aggressive approach against many Arab and Muslim countries without any evidence, especially after the attacks in New York and Washington on 11 September."

The US Central Command, which oversees the US military operation in the Persian Gulf, announced on September 27 that once again US and British warplanes struck at anti-aircraft artillery units in Iraq. This was described as "self-defence measures in response to Iraqi hostile threats and acts against coalition aircrews and their aircraft".

The announcement went on to say that the strikes were "not related to the president’s campaign against terrorism". It is the second time in less than a week that there has been this kind of attack. And the Pentagon with its announcement was making sure that everyone understands that this has become quite routine in that part of the world.

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Iran Refuses Participation in US-led Attacks

According to news agencies, on September 26, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, "Iran will not participate in any move under US leadership. Iran will not extend any assistance to the US and its allies in attacking the already suffering Muslim neighbouring Afghanistan."

In a nationally televised address, Khamenei denounced the US, saying, "American officials say 'there are no good or bad terrorists,' but they themselves have double-standards on terrorism." "America's hands are stained with all the crimes committed by the Zionist regime [in Israel]," he said. Khamenei said, "They expect the entire world to help them because their interests demand. Do you ever care about others' interests?" The US, he said, "is not sincere in fighting terrorism. It has other objectives." "They intend to come and establish themselves in this region under the pretext of lack of security," he said.

Khamenei rejected the ultimatum posed by US President George W. Bush that nations had to choose between being "with us or terrorism". "It is not that any one who is with you is against terrorism and those who are against you are for it," he said. "We are neither with you nor with the terrorists."

The address, made to an audience of families of soldiers killed in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, followed visits to Iran on September 25 by both a top-level EU delegation, headed by Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, and a separate visit by British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, the first trip to Iran by a British foreign minister since 1979. Reports in the media in the past several days have suggested that Iran was poised to "co-operate" with the US, including allowing use of its airspace for attacks.

Jack Straw, following his meeting with Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, said, "We stand together in opposing terrorism." Khatami told reporters that the attacks on September 11, "set off the alarm bell for the entire humanity. Costly and disgusting as it is, I hope it would spark a world resolve to fight to eradicate terrorism." "The government and nation of Iran understands America's situation in the wake of the recent incidents," he said, "but one should not respond to a great catastrophe by causing another." Since September 11, Khatami has called for the fight against terrorism to be carried out under the auspices of the United Nations.

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Israeli Intelligence Implicated In Attacks on United States

According to news agency reports from Damascus on September 27, Syria’s highest Islamic authority, Ahmad Kataro, the Grand Mufti of Damascus, has stated that the Israeli intelligence service Mossad is implicated in the September 11 attacks which destroyed New York’s Twin Towers and part of the Pentagon building in Washington.

In a sermon he gave in Damascus on Saturday, September 22, Kataro referred to "black Tuesday" for the first time, rejecting any implication that Muslims were involved.

Kataro asked why Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cancelled his planned visit to Washington two days before the attacks, and stressed that this was "a clear indication that Mossad knew about it".

He also referred to a report in an Oman daily revealing that close to 400 Israeli employees who worked in the destroyed Twin Towers did not turn up for work on the day of the tragedy.

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IMF Warns of World Economic Recession

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the world stands on the brink of recession and that global trends towards a slump have been worsened by the impact of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The US and Japan are probably in recession already and Europe’s growth is slowing down, the International Monetary Fund said in the release of its World Economic Outlook on September 26.

A US contraction is now a "significant likelihood" and Japan’s economy will shrink by 0.5 percent this year and barely grow in 2002, according to Kenneth Rogoff, the IMF’s chief economist.

"A significant danger of a deeper and more prolonged slowdown remains," the IMF said.

"There is no doubt that the attack is having a negative effect on activity now in many regions of the globe, and that it has increased what were already significant risks to the short-term global outlook, including for emerging economies," Kenneth Rogoff said.

The British Tourism Authority has also warned that the tourism industry faces 30,000 job cuts following the US attacks.

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Statement of Arab Communist and Workers Parties

Humanity in various continents and countries received with utmost condemnation the suicidal attacks in New York and Washington. For as much as these attacks spread fear, horror and a state of deep frustration inside America, they also created an atmosphere of anger and condemnation outside it because of the thousands of innocent people who fell victim to this aggression.

But condemnation does not mean refusing to view this terrorist act in its reality, as being in one main aspect a bitter outcome of American policy itself. On the other side, it is a consequence of the tremendous resentment and anger which have been escalating all over the world, against injustice, oppression, exploitation and recklessness towards human beings and people; as well as against growing poverty and misery throughout the world.

The US administration's reaction to this event and its subsequent acts have indicated elements of confusion, arrogance and lack of rationality. It considered what happened the beginning of a new kind of war which the forces of evil have declared against the forces of good, and pledged to wage a long-term crusade until it achieves victory. It called upon states of the world to join an alliance with it against terror and against states and centres which harbour terrorists and offer them assistance. All this without arriving at a clear specification with regard to responsibilities.

Its behaviour has thus become close to settling scores with all its opponents, employing the suicidal attack itself as means to proceed with the same policies, i.e. the policy of control over the world and subjecting it to American interests to the exclusion of others.

The US administration is therefore deliberately ignoring the real factors which led to this catastrophe, first and foremost the policy of impoverishing nations and plundering their wealth, obstructing the institutions of international legitimacy, supporting the Israeli wrongdoing at the expense of Palestinian rightness, and the arrogance of power and attempts at hegemony and exclusivity. Here lies evil and the source of reactions to it. The biggest example on this are the acts of blackmail and crimes committed by the government of the world criminal Ariel Sharon, using the attacks in the US as a pretext, claiming that its aggression against the Palestinian people represents its own contribution against terror.

This complex situation requires that all honest people in the world work hard for the rejection of these American aims, and support the idea of convening an international conference within the framework of the United Nations, which has been called for by Syria and is currently adopted by Egypt and other countries. Such a conference can, based on the recent events and earlier ones, put forward a comprehensive definition of international terror which makes a distinction between it and legitimate acts of resistance. Only then can an international alliance be established against terror after reaching agreement on its definition, forces and instruments. This alliance will definitely be under the supervision of the UN and its exclusive responsibility.

The danger that US action might beyond reacting to the perpetrators of the attacks, raise the need for utmost vigilance on the Arab level, in defence of Arab interests in general and the Palestinian people in particular.

The United States and the world will continue to be exposed to terror as long as the current policies of Washington remain, and as long as injustice, aggression and usurpation continue; until the dawn of a new world order in which justice, harmony and equality prevail among peoples.

Jordanian Communist Party
Syrian Communist Party
Iraqi Communist Party
Lebanese Communist Party
Sudanese Communist Party
Egyptian Communist Party
Palestinian People's Party

20-9-2001

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