From the podium

From the podium

His Excellency Hamad Mohamed Abdul Illah (Minister for Agriculture of the Republic of Iraq) (Original language Arabic)

I would like to say how happy we are and how grateful we are to His Excellency Jacques Diouf of FAO and we should like to say how much we are thankful for all those who have helped us combat world hunger on our planet.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as you know, nobody is ignorant of the fact that the problem of hunger in the world calls for greater food aid and greater strengthening for national capacities, given that we must try to increase production in every possible sector and to transfer research results as quickly as possible to all.

As we know, the sanctions which have taken place against our country are against the Charter of the United Nations. Moreover, they have had a very bad effect on the agriculture within our country. However, despite this embargo, we have always given priority to agricultural production.

A sub-committee set up by the Vice-President of the Republic, which includes Ministers responsible for agricultural policy, is trying to improve agricultural production and basically to cut price inputs. We would also like to say that reforms have been made in an attempt to encourage the private sector to play its full role in the agricultural sector. We wish to stress also that the role of the state would only be to provide the necessary services in various agricultural areas.

Thirdly, we wanted to support the implementation of agricultural research centres by helping researchers to carry out applied research and to intensify their efforts to make their knowledge known to all so that everyone can take part in this important effort to combat hunger.

Thanks to the policies that we have been carrying out, we have had several positive results. There have been largescale reductions in agricultural and grain production, but also surpluses in some areas. We have been able to develop palm production and have also made increases in olive production. We have also rationalized our efforts to use water through the Saddam Pilot Project and to increase irrigation to avoid the disastrous effects of drought.

We have also done a great deal to increase our fowl production and increase chicken meat production. The aims of our Summit are, in truth, very noble and very high. We are trying to reduce the scourge of poverty and malnutrition throughout the world.

We must also underline the obstacles which are preventing this progress, such as the repression carried out by Israel and also the technical embargo against Iraq, with what is called "air embargo zones". The massive destruction and the damage to agricultural production, which has been carried out by these militant steps, threatens our future agricultural strategy and the way in which we are going to be able to raise the standard of living for the Iraqi people.

Therefore, we have tried, in close cooperation with the United Nations, to obtain contracts, vaccines and also pesticides, which are absolutely essential for increasing the level of agricultural production. However, there were other obstacles in our path, if we wanted to export our agricultural production.

In drawing to a close, I would like to underline, Mr Chairman, that what the Heads of State and Government promised to do, i.e. to implement their political will to try and achieve food security throughout the world, ought not to be counteracted by the Resolution of the United Nations, which was taken under the influence of certain very influential countries and which is totally alien to the spirit of the United Nations Charter.

We must not lose sight of the fact that we cannot use food as a political weapon, if we must act against anything, as this would be counter to the UN Charter. We must also ask the developed countries to honour their undertakings to help with development aid and also technical aid for those countries which are in deepest need.

We totally support the alliance proposed against hunger, in order to mobilize all efforts and to provide all the necessary technical and other aid. This could guarantee the security of human wellbeing and happiness throughout the world. I should like to wish this Summit all success in the achievement of its noble goals.

Thank you very much indeed.

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