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Article from the FT.

Financial Times. 18th July 1998.

Saddam sees break-up of UN sanctions
By Roula Khalaf in London

President Saddam Hussein of Iraq on Friday vowed that United Nations
sanctions would disintegrate this year and warned of serious consequences
if the UN persisted in maintaining the embargo.

In a defiant speech marking the 30th anniversary of the coup which brought
the ruling Baath party to power, Mr Saddam said he did not expect
sanctions to be formally lifted by the Security Council.

But he assured Iraqis that sanctions had started crumbling and would
continue to do so, as more countries showed a willingness to trade with

"This year, and the time that follows, will be the year and time of the
virtual disintegration of the blockade on Iraq," he said.

This week's agreement between Iraq and Syria to reopen an old pipeline and
build a new one is part of Iraqi attempts to render the sanctions regime

But implementation of these projects requires UN approval and the US State
Department said this week it had received assurances Syria would not
violate the sanctions.

According to UN officials, Iraqi co-operation with UN weapons inspections
may end in the autumn if the six-month sanctions review at the Security
Council in October fails to produce an easing of curbs, or, at least, a
closing of some disarmament files.

In spite of rising international outcry against the effects of sanctions
on the Iraqi population, the Security Council can consider lifting the
embargo only after Iraq is declared free of weapons of mass destruction.

While France, Russia and China are eager to see an end to the sanctions,
the US and UK maintain a hard line.

Last June Unscom, the commission charged with finding and destroying
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, expressed its readiness to issue a
final report on deadly weapons for the Council's October review and agreed
a two-month intensive work schedule with the Iraqis to settle outstanding

Baghdad has long maintained that it has already complied with disarmament

But the prospect of a final and positive report by October is unlikely,
raising concern that Iraq might provoke a new crisis before the end of the

In February a US and UK-led military strike on Baghdad was averted after
Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, struck a deal with the Iraqi
leadership, which led to the opening up of presidential sites to UN
weapons inspectors.

Unscom says it still lacks an understanding of Iraq's biological weapons
programme and has some unanswered questions about chemical weapons and
ballistic missiles.

Even as the work schedule progresses, the commission is embroiled in a
dispute with the Iraqis over their alleged production of the deadly VX
nerve gas.

Iraqi missile warheads recently excavated and tested in a US laboratory
were found to contain traces of VX, when the Iraqis claim they never
loaded missiles with the gas.

Accusing the US laboratory of conspiracy, Baghdad has asked that new tests
be conducted in France and Switzerland. The results of these tests are
expected next month.

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