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    10 June 1999   
Oil-for-Food Background Information


United Nations rejects allegations of "sabotage"

 On 5 June, the Iraq News Agency (INA) reported that unnamed officials in the Ministry of Agriculture had accused the United Nations agency responsible for demining activities of "sabotage" through the alleged actions of a British employee who, it was claimed, had buried locust eggs at a location in northern Iraq in April this year.

The United Nations has investigated the details contained in the report. There is no individual named Reed (or Reid) working for the United Nations in Iraq; there was no United Kingdom national working for the United Nations in Iraq in April and no vehicle with the registration cited in the report has been used by the United Nations.

The report was incorrect in every detail and completely false in its claim that a United Nations employee or the United Nations Office for Project Services, which implements the demining programme in the three northern governorates, had behaved in a way which could damage agriculture in Iraq.

The Executive Director of the Iraq Programme, Benon V. Sevan, said the United Nations insists on the highest standards of conduct from its staff and expressed serious concern that such allegations would be made public without any supporting evidence. Mr Sevan said the officials responsible for the INA report should now withdraw the allegations.

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