U.S. Accused of Blocking Medical Relief Plane

A British aid agency, Save the Children, yesterday accused the
United States of unnecessarily refusing children access to
essential supplies after American military officials denied landing
privileges to a British plane carrying medical aid to Arbil,

According to BBC radio and Aljazeera web reports, U.S. officials
told Save the Children that the trip was ?risky for civilian
planes.? But agency spokesman Brendan Paddy said that landing in
Arbil is ?as safe as landing in parts of London,? and speculated
that American officials have ?other priorities,? because American
planes have been granted access to the area. Paddy warned that such
restrictions are in violation of the Geneva Convention. The
supplies?enough to help 40,000 people for three months ?will
benefit damaged and looted hospitals. Military officials hope to
allow the plane to land ?within days.?

Meanwhile, convoys transporting 100 tons of food for the World
Food Program have been hindered by ?bureaucratic delays? involved
with transporting the supplies to Iraq via Iranian borders that
have been closed since the start of the war. Although the food
distribution has been delayed, 102,000 liters of drinking water
provided by UNICEF have successfully crossed the Iran/Iraq border.
Military officials say a ?local religious leader? will help
distribution the water to the Iraqi people.

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