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BBC News Online: January 13, 1999 Published at 10:47 GMT ********************************* Lift Iraq sanctions - France France says it wants the United Nations to address Iraq's demands for a lifting of trade sanctions and an end to weapons inspections. Instead, France is proposing Iraqi oil sales are monitored, to ensure the revenue is not spent on weapons. The move comes amid suggestions from Baghdad that it may seek a dialogue to end the current impasse. Details of the plan have yet to be announced, but France has already had informal discussions, behind closed doors, with the other four permanent Security Council members the United States, Russia, Britain and China. The current crisis has led to almost daily military action by US forces against Iraqi military aircraft and ground sites as they enforce no-fly zones in the north and south of the country. Diplomats say France will present the proposal to the other 10 members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday. Talks possible The BBC United Nations Correspondent, Rob Watson, says it is a significant step. Although France's ideas for breaking the deadlock with Iraq have been aired before, this is the first time they've been presented at the UN, albeit in a very informal manner. Meanwhile, there are suggestions in Baghdad that the authorities may be prepared to enter into talks to ease the current tensions. After a cabinet meeting chaired by Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi news agency reported that dialogue could be the way forward - a BBC correspondent in Baghdad, John McIntyre, says the moves are aimed at Arab leaders who are meeting later this month and are not intended to signal giving any gound to the US or Britain. But the remarks are in contrast to earlier statements, bitterly blaming neighbouring Arab countries for last month's airstrikes. End of the road for Unscom? One casualty of France's proposal would be the intrusive inspections of the UN Special Commission (Unscom) in charge of dismantling Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, which would be replaced by some kind of ongoing monitoring system. But there are major hurdles to the acceptance of the French proposals - Iraq is still demanding the unconditional lifting of the oil embargo, and the United States and Britain are likely to oppose what might be seen as a reward for Baghdad's failure to honour UN resolutions. However, our correspondent says the French move does represent the first step in what looks like being a very long battle at the UN over what to do next about Iraq. ***************************** ______________________________________________________ Harriet Griffin Research Scientist Environmental Change Unit University of Oxford 5 South Parks Road Oxford OX1 3UB United Kingdom Phone: ++ 44 (0)1865 281210 Fax: ++ 44 (0) 1865 281202 E-mail: email@example.com ______________________________________________________ -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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