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What the French want



This is what I could find out about the French proposals (from
Associated Press):

Essence of French proposal for lifting sanctions:

*       end to embargo on oil sales
*       replacement of weapons inspections  la Unscom with a less
intrusive system of arms controls
*       the French also want to start discussions, break the deadlock,
and of course give themselves and Russia freedom to take up contracts to
help Iraq upgrade oil industry (lots of lovely oil dollars in it for
someone) since at present Iraq is only able to sell $3billion/six months

Features of the proposal:

*       focuses on preventing Baghdad from reacquiring "dangerous
weapons" (???) rather than accounting for current or past arms (which
has been the business of U.N. weapons inspections to date)
*       vague on how to ensure Iraq does not import materials related to
WMD as well as what would be set up in place of UNSCOM 
*       proposes "economic and financial monitoring measures" so that
the United Nations is notified of each oil contract by buyers and Iraq.
The United Nations could stop military-related items or those which have
dual usage but could not restrict other civilian goods and services
*       does not mention the escrow account for oil revenues (set up by
UN to pay suppliers and compensation for Gulf War) - no consensus on how
import/export controls could be implemented without this account (or
something like it) because of difficulty of monitoring on the ground

International response:

*       US rejected major points (surprise surprise)
*       BUT Al Gore said "The United States is looking at ways to
improve the effectiveness of humanitarian programs in Iraq, including
lifting the current ceiling of funds which can be used to purchase food
and medicine"
*       James Rubin (spokesman for US State Dept) repeated the usual
stuff about no sanctions relief until all Iraq's WMD were eliminated
*       Britain listened to the French but said it preferred a trade-off
later in the year between lifting embargo and arms control
*       Iraq not over-enthusiastic because of the call for an ongoing
monitoring system to prevent further arms acquisitions - Iraqi
government just sees it as exchanging one type of embargo for another
(!)
*       Russia keen on proposals as a "way out of the dead end" BUT said
that they were not sufficient on their own to provide a sound basis for
UN SC Iraq policy

Conclusions:

*       None expected for months

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