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Iraq won't accept aid, wants sanctions ended

BAGHDAD, June 6 (Reuters) - Sanctions-hit Iraq said on Saturday it
will accept no more humanitarian aid and urged friends instead to
campaign "with force" to end its eight-year economic embargo. 

A statement issued after a cabinet meeting chaired by President
Saddam Hussein said Iraqis would not be beggars. 

"The cabinet sent its thanks and appreciation to all parties and people
who have exerted efforts to offer material assistance to Iraq under the
title of humanitarian aid," said the statement, carried by the official
Iraqi News Agency. 

"Iraq does not need money, and its people are not lazy people asking
for aid from others," it added. 

"The cabinet affirmed that Iraqi authorities would apologise from now
on (and not) accept any material assistance which could be classified
as humanitarian aid." 

The statement came the day after two aid flights, from Jordan and the
United Arab Emirates, arrived in Baghdad. They were part of a
growing wave of humanitarian donations sent in recent months by
sympathetic, mainly Arab, states. 

Iraq blames the sanctions, imposed for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait,
for the death of 1.5 million people. It has always maintained that
foreign assistance, and the supplies it buys under its oil-for-food
accord with the United Nations, cannot be an alternative to the full
lifting of sanctions. 

"The cabinet expressed its thanks to those parties and people and
(expressed) its hope that they will continue with us under another
framework. The basis now is that those parties and people in solidarity
with our people should raise the slogan of lifting the unjust sanctions
on Iraq with force," the INA statement said. 

Iraq, which used to be a major aid donor, has received food shipments
from countries as impoverished as Sudan and Djibouti. 

In recent weeks it has waged a major diplomatic offensive to
campaign for international support for an end to the sanctions, which
cannot be lifted until it has persuaded U.N. inspectors it has scrapped
all its weapons of mass destruction. 

Iraq says it destroyed the weapons years ago and that U.N. Special
Commission (UNSCOM) inspectors are following a U.S. agenda to
prolong their work and extend the sanctions. 

It sent senior government ministers to lobby Arab states and most of
the 15-member states of the U.N. Security Council. 

The United States and Britain, the two countries which have taken the
toughest line against Iraq in the council, maintain that the oil-for-food
deal meets Baghdad's humanitarian needs. 

The accord, which has allowed Iraq to sell $2 billion of oil every six
months for the last year and a half and buy urgently needed food and
medicine with some of the revenue, was more than doubled this month
to allow Iraq to sell $4.5 billion worth of oil between June and

Iraq is unlikely to be able to export that much oil unless it gets early
approval from the Security Council to buy $300 million worth of oil
industry spare parts to renovate installations described by
U.N.-commissioned experts in April as being in a "lamentable state." 

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