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From the news

*       Iraq's oil export plans for 1999 (special report from REUTERS)
*       Naming of new UN panels on Iraq (Associated Press)
*       George Robertson in Kuwait: not an "arms merchant", rather a
representative of the British government [interesting distinction - HG]
(Arabic News)

FOCUS-Iraq hopes to maintain oil exports to end '99
REUTERS: Hassan Hafidh, Baghdad newsroom +00873 762 016746
BAGHDAD, Feb 9 - Iraq hopes to maintain oil exports at 2.2-2.3 million
barrels per day (bpd) to the end of 1999 and sees exports rising to 2.8
million bpd by the second quarter of 2000 if spare parts arrive in time,
a senior Iraqi oil official said on Tuesday. Faleh al-Khayat, director
general of planning and studies at  the Oil Ministry, also said that an
oil refinery bombed during  December's U.S.-led air raids against Iraq
was operational. ``One of the two production lines of that refinary is
operational and commissioning the second line is related to
circumstances,'' Khayat told Reuters.  

The Basra refinary was bombed by the United States and  Britain after a
dispute over the U.N. disarmament programme. ``What we hope is that we
can maintain current production to  the end of the year,'' when spare
parts which Iraq has bought  under the U.N. oil-for-food programme
arrive, Khayat said.  ``The current export capacity is more than 2.2 to
2.3  million barrels per day,'' Khayat said, adding that Iraq would  be
able to export 2.8 million bpd near the end of the first  quarter of
next year if vital spare parts for its oil industry arrived in time.  He
said Iraq was currently producing 2.6 to 2.7 million bpd.  

Iraq is allowed to export $5.26 billion of oil every six  months under
strict U.N. monitoring to help pay for humanitarian  supplies. Low oil
prices and a worn-out oil industry mean it is  unable to reach that
level.  The amount of spare parts which have arrived in Iraq since  the
country began exporting crude oil in December 1996 under the  oil
programme, now in its fifth six-month phase, totalled only  10 million
dollars, he said.  Khayat said this consisted mainly of chemical
requirements  and pipes but Iraq needed other equipment to repair damage
to  its oil installations.  

He accused U.S. and British members of the U.N. sanctions  committee of
delaying contracts for spare parts, saying they had  put on hold more
than 100 contracts.  Khayat said Iraqi exports could be increased to
three  million bpd a few months after the first quarter of 2000. This
would take Iraq very close to its pre-Gulf War export level.  

He said Iraq had sent a letter to the Organisation of the  Petroleum
Exporting Countries asking it to reduce the group's  export ceiling by
1.5 million bpd and saying the whole amount  should be cut by Saudi
Arabia.  Baghdad has recently stepped up its public criticism of  Saudi
Arabia, blaming OPEC's biggest producer for the  deterioration in world
oil prices.  Khayat said Saudi Arabia was deliberately flooding the
market with oil in order to suit what he termed the hostile U.S.  policy
against Iraq.  Saudi Arabia raised its own production by more than two
million bpd in 1990 when Iraqi oil exports were barred under the
economic embargo imposed by the United Nations after Iraq's  invasion of

New U.N. Panels on Iraq to Be Named 
Tuesday, February 9, 1999; 5:42 p.m. EST

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Members of three panels which will make
recommendations on Iraq's future relationship with the United Nations
will be named in a few days, the Security Council's president said
Tuesday. Canada's U.N. Ambassador, Robert Fowler, said he met with
Brazil's U.N. Ambassador, Celso Amorim, who will chair the three panels,
to discuss the composition. 

As a first step to breaking the diplomatic impasse on Iraq that followed
U.S. and British airstrikes in mid-December, the council agreed Jan. 30
to create the panels. They are expected to submit recommendations by
April 15 on re-establishing an effective disarmament program in Iraq, on
improving the humanitarian situation in the country, and on what to do
about looted property and hundreds of people who disappeared after
Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. 

The most controversial panel is the one on disarmament, which will
definitely include experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency
and the U.N. Special Commission, known as UNSCOM, which is charged with
eliminating Iraq's biological and chemical weapons and long-range
missiles. The panels should provide a framework for a future Iraq policy
-- but the council remains deeply divided on what that policy should be.

Britain's Robertson in Kuwait after Qatar, determined to contain Iraq
Arabic News, Kuwait, Politics, 2/9/99

British Defense Minister George Robertson arrived in Kuwait on Monday
from Qatar in the course of his tour on the Arab Gulf states. Spokesman
for the British embassy in Kuwait said that Robertson will "discuss the
latest developments in the region with military officials at the Kuwaiti
Ali al-Salem air base." Robertson is scheduled to leave Kuwait tonight
for Saudi Arabia, his third stop on the tour he started on Sunday,
during which he will also visit Bahrain. Before leaving Doha, Robertson
said in a press conference that the aim of his visit is to convey an
important message to the leaders of the Gulf states in that "We will not
give up against the danger embodied by (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein
concerning the region." He stressed he is not on his tour as an "arms
merchant," rather as a representative of the British government in order
to convey this message. He said "We are determined to minimize the
danger represented by Saddam Hussein."

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