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Iraqi Crisis Escalates

News from:
Friday, November 13 , 1998: The News Channel 

Iraqi Crisis Escalates

MANAMA (AROL)-- United Nations arms inspectors and other staff who were 
evacuated to Bahrain from Iraq have no immediate plans to leave the Gulf 
Arab island, a U.N. official said to Reuters on Friday. 
Goran Wallen, chief of the Bahrain field base for the U.N. Special 
Commission (UNSCOM) charged with disarming Iraq, told Reuters the 
inspectors were staying put for the time being. 

Just over 100 monitors and other support staff arrived in Bahrain on 
Wednesday after their sudden withdrawal from Iraq as a precaution 
against possible military strikes. 

The latest crisis with Iraq was sparked by Baghdad's decision to halt 
cooperation with the inspectors, who are seeking to eliminate the 
country's chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities as a 
precondition for lifting sanctions. 

On the inspectors' arrival in Bahrain, Wallen said they were awaiting 
orders from New York about whether they would go back to Baghdad or 
return to their home countries. 

As to the remaining U.N. staff members in Iraq, (a group of 50 relief 
staff ), they have left their Baghdad hotels and moved to United Nations 
headquarters in anticipation of a possible air strike. 

The U.N. Security Council, meanwhile, is to meet today with U.N. 
Secretary-General Kofi Annan to try to solve the standoff with Iraq, but 
chances for a peaceful resolution appear to be dwindling, says CNN. 

The United States has threatened to use force if Iraq does not back down 
on its October 31 decision to stop cooperating, and is mustering its 
military capabilities in the region. 

France, on the other hand, advised its nationals to delay travels to 
Iraq and Kuwait under the current conditions. "Because of the 
uncertainty in the region, we recommend that trips to or stays in Iraq 
or Kuwait be postponed until further notice," Francois Rivasseau, deputy 
foreign ministry spokesman told AFP today. However, the French foreign 
ministry did not ask its nationals to leave the two countries. 

On Thursday, Britain and Germany urged their citizens to leave Iraq over 
the threat of US air strikes. Spain today also urged its nationals not 
to visit Iraq, or the Gulf region in general. Spain holds Baghdad 
responsible for the present stand off. 

Egypt, Syria, and six Gulf states Thursday told Baghdad it would be 
solely responsible for any military strikes against it if it refused to 
allow arms inspections to continue their work. 

In a news conference held in Baghdad Thursday, Iraqi Deputy Prime 
Minister Tareq Aziz said that the Iraqi people were dying anyway from 
the effects of sanctions, and added "..there is no light at the end of 
the tunnel, there will be no peaceful solution ... unless the United 
States agreed to the principle of lifting sanctions." 

 13.11.98 N.J.

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