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24 February 1998 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's peacemaking deal on U.N. arms inspections produced relief but no jubilation among ordinary Iraqis Monday. The Iraqi government has hailed the deal as a "victory over evil," but many Baghdad residents said they would reserve rejoicing for the day they saw the back of crippling U.N. economic sanctions imposed for Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Shopkeepers and customers clustered round television sets for a live broadcast of Monday's news conference by Annan and Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz. For many it was the first news of the deal, previously ignored by Iraqi media. "All I want is for sanctions to be lifted. I was hoping for a final solution," said Majed Hassan, 31, in his hardware shop. "They should have set conditions, a time limit for lifting the sanctions." Hassan Faraj, another shopkeeper, said, "Nothing has changed for us. They (inspectors) will go back to searching. Even if they had searched every house and every inch of the country they should have finished in seven years. But they are intentionally delaying the lifting of the sanctions." Some Iraqis voiced skepticism that Annan's deal would work, saying they believed the United States would attack anyway. "The Americans will do whatever they want. Nobody can deter them. They are immoral. Wait and see, it's only a matter of days or months and the Americans will repeat their comedy," said former factory owner Jameel Abdel Saheb. He said he had had to sell his two factories, where he once employed more than 100 workers, to survive the U.N. trade embargo. "I was a rich man and now I'm poor," he added. "America loves war. If it were up to America, the sanctions would never be lifted," said shopkeeper Saad Abdel Khaleq. A common view was that the United States might accept Annan's deal under pressure from other Security Council members but would find other pretexts to sabotage it later. "Everything is possible. They might find any reason to block it. For seven years they have been looking for any pretext to obstruct, sabotage and create a crisis in order to set harsher conditions on Iraq," Abdel Saheb said. "The United States will keep its grip on Baghdad. They will not lift the sanctions until they make sure that Iraq is finished. They want Iraq to go backwards not only seven years but 20 years. They want a weak Iraq," Hassan said. A few people reckoned the agreement could mean their ordeal was nearing an end. "We were hoping for such an accord. We want peace. We don't want war. We want to have work, to get back to business," said Abdel-Wahab Ahmed, who owns a spare parts shop. Ahmed Farah said seven years of sanctions were more than enough. "We have shortages in many essential goods," he said as he sold shoes in al-Rashid street. For all their doubts about U.S. intentions, most Iraqis said they respected Annan as a man trying to end their plight. "Kofi Annan is a peacemaker. He does not take orders from America. He has good will and wishes as well," said a customer who gave his name only as Faysal. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html