Mr. Tariq Aziz 
Head of the Iraqi Delegation Deputy Prime Minister 

at the 
World Summit for Sustainable Development 

Johannesburg, South Africa
02 September 2002

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your assumption of the chairmanship of this important Conference. We are confident that your acumen and experience in the issues addressed by this Conference, and your devotion to them will enable our Conference to achieve success. I would also like to express my appreciation for the efforts exerted by the Government of South Africa in the preparation for this big International Conference, which is held to deal with one of the most serious issues that challenge mankind and the future of our planet as well.

Iraq is a country, whose civilization extends to several thousands of years, and it is in Iraq where the first human civilization had come into existence and developed. Throughout these numerous centuries of human life and production in all its kinds, the environment in Iraq remained generally intact. During the decades of the seventies and the eighties, and upon directives and particular care of His Excellency, President Saddam Hussein, great efforts were made, and considerable investments allocated to address environmental problems. Thus, Iraq has produced a national strategy for the sustainable development that covered all aspects of life, with special attention to exploit natural resources in a manner that would cause no harm to the environment, and keep its components clean and acceptable.

But the conditions concerning the sustainable development and environment have changed substantially in Iraq since the 1991 aggression. However, let alone, the imposition of an all-out and unjust embargo for twelve continuous years, the forces of aggression have dropped more than 130 thousand tons of high explosives throughout Iraq aiming at fully destroying the Iraqi infrastructure of the environment, causing grave contamination to its components. This has been duly noted in various reports and studies including the radial contamination due to the use by the US of depleted uranium; and the introduction of contaminated substances and diseases causes that are unidentified in Iraq before. Rates of cancer disease cases have been compounded as well as embryonic deformities and other disease cases.

The consequences of devastation and environmental contamination that are fomented by aggression are beyond Iraq's capacity to bring back the environment in its pre 1991 condition. Imposing economic and technological embargo on Iraq and its continuation for 12 years has hampered Iraq's capabilities to reform its environment that has been damaged by the continuing aggression that is still going on.

Iraq is still suffering from a considerably high shortage of water supplies flowing into the country, and its low quality due to the huge storing projects carried out in Turkey against the interest of both Iraq and Syria. This caused reduction in agricultural areas and the quality of potable water is deeply affected and caused another reduction in the efficiency of the electricity power plants. Therefore, Iraq is simply deprived from the very essential means of controlling environmental contaminators due to Anglo-American mal-practices in the (661) committee by holding tens of contracts for several projects of processing industrial waters and means of controlling gaseous contaminators.

Nothing left for Iraq, but to depend on the available self-capabilities, especially in the field of rebuilding the environmental infrastructure, mainly rehabilitating potable water projects and heavy water sewage and collecting solid waste systems and rehabilitating the processing units of several facilities and preventing the pouring of drainage waste products into the river basin.

Notwithstanding, the significant measures taken by Iraq under these harsh conditions, it is worthwhile to note that such measures are totally inadequate and can not stands as an alternative to lift the unjust embargo imposed on Iraq. So, sustaining environment processes requires the up lifting of all restrictions imposed on Iraq in order to secure the pre-requisites of protecting and improving its environment in many different spheres including the most clean & non-emitting techniques and to provide labs, measurements, observation and monitoring.

Iraq believes that international community if it is truly interested in attaining sustainable development to the peoples of the world as a whole should struggle against manipulating any form of embargo against states because of its perilous effects on man's environment and his well-being for the sake of realizing the goals of sustainable development.

Now, that the environment and sustainable development of Iraq are being exposed to immensely serious threats, let alone, the continuation of an unjust embargo, the United States is threatening to launch another large-scale aggression against Iraq that would bring about more devastation, and subsequently, lead to further catastrophes on the environment. Admittedly, that would certainly impede the development the Iraqi citizen needs. Consequently, the international community is required to stand against this new aggression-and seek lifting the unjust embargo imposed on Iraq.

We hope that the relevant environment organizations, especially the UN program for environment, do support the efforts of Iraq in implementing a comprehensive -program to rehabilitate the damaged environment as a result of aggression and an on-going embargo.

On the global level, and after ten years since and last conference in Rio De. Janeiro, International environmental policies should be reconsidered, specifically, that of the advanced countries that are mainly responsible for the contamination of the globe and its increasing average, in particular, the topic of climatic changes and the exhaustion of ozonosphere through modes of production and unsustainable consumption.

Iraq reaffirms that any sovereign state has the right to acquire and utilize its natural resources and preserve them from extinction such as woods and Greenfield areas that are part of national resources and heritage.

The international community is required to stand firmly against the Zionist aggression on the Palestinian people. The government of the Zionist entity is deliberately and systematically undermining all the essentials of life for the Palestinian people with the aim of evicting the land of Palestine from its people. Consequently, modest development steps in Palestine have been withheld, and the situation in Palestine has become catastrophically exacerbated in all measures. The international community should, if it is really concerned about protecting the environment, ensure the peoples' right of living, face up this aggression and support the valiant Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle for freedom and decent life.