The U.N. Security Council's sanctions committee is warning that medicines being sent to Iraq could be used in chemical and biological warfare.
The committee's chairwoman, Finnish Ambassador Marjatta Rasi, said Wednesday Iraq has received "tons and tons of medicines," apparently much more than it needs."It may become a problem," Rasi said. She said the medicines could be used for "other purposes," including chemical and biological weapons.
Rasi acknowledged the sanctions committee has no solid evidence that medicines are diverted for use in manufacturing such weapons. She said there are more fears than real proof that Iraq could use the medicines to circumvent U.N. sanctions prohibiting exports of chemical products to Iraq.
The Security Council imposed a stringent trade and arms embargo on Iraq Aug. 6 to punish it for refusing to withdraw from Kuwait, which it invaded four days earlier.
Medicines are excluded from the sanctions. Food can be sent under some "humanitarian circumstances," provided that it is distributed under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross or international relief agencies.