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* France working against "useless and cruel" sanctions (Agence France-Presse) * New US/UK attack, civilian killed (Associated Press): "Iraqi planes and anti-aircraft missile batteries didn't target the Western jets, but U.S. and British pilots fired on the air defense systems to remove a potential danger" [!!!] * Renewal of nuclear weapons witch-hunt (Associated Press) [on the question of "non-enriched uranium" retained by Iraq - does 630,000 lbs of depleted uranium count? - HG] ******************** France blasts sanctions on Iraq as "useless and cruel" 15:22 GMT, 10 February 1999 PARIS, Feb 10 (AFP) -French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine denounced UN sanctions on Iraq as "useless and cruel" Wednesday as he renewed calls for a new international approach to neutralizing Baghdad's weapons program. In an address to the National Assembly, Vedrine said France had made "strong" and "coherent" proposals to the UN Security Council to ease tensions with Iraq. These proposals "would allow us to truly move forward by lifting the embargo, which has shown itself to be useless and cruel, while simultaneously imposing controls over any potential weapons programs and the revenues" from the renewed oil exports, Vedrine said. The French foreign minister added that it was up to the UN Security Council to decide whether to change the sanctions regime against Iraq. "France is working towards that end," he said. ******************** US, Brit Jets Fire on Iraqi Sites Wednesday, February 10, 1999; 3:51 p.m. EST WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. and British warplanes struck several Iraqi air defense sites Wednesday after three waves of Iraqi fighters violated the southern ``no-fly'' zone in the first clash in a week, U.S. military officials said. Iraqi planes and anti-aircraft missile batteries didn't target the Western jets, but U.S. and British pilots fired on the air defense systems to remove a potential danger, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ernest Duplessis, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Florida. ``Any time we have a violation of the no-fly zone, that is a threat," Duplessis said. Coalition aircraft included more than half a dozen U.S. Air Force F-15E fighters and A-10 jets with enough firepower to take out tanks as well as several British GR-1 Tornado fighter-bombers. All returned safely to base after separate attacks over the course of about eight hours, the Pentagon said. The official Iraqi News Agency reported the strikes killed a civilian and injured others. U.S. officials said a damage assessment had not been completed. The Western warplanes used precision-guided missiles and 500 and 1,000 pound bombs -- although U.S. officials didn't say how many - to hit surface-to-air missile batteries, radar sites and a communications tower, U.S. defense officials said. The incidents occurred near Talil, about 170 miles southeast of Baghdad, and near An Najaf, about 100 miles south of Baghdad. The Western aircraft first struck between 2:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. EST and in a second wave at about 11 a.m. EST, U.S. officials said. In the three separate violations, pairs of Russian-made MiG-23 or MiG-25 jets entered about 60 miles into the no-fly zone, but turned tail when confronted, the Pentagon said. Western planes have hit about 40 air defense sites in response to more than 80 violations of the flight-denial zones, set up after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Iraqi minority groups and rebels. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein began challenging the no-fly zones after U.S. and British air strikes against his weapons facilities and command and control centers in mid-December. ******************** UN Panel Calls for Iraq Inspections By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer, Wednesday, February 10, 1999; 12:39 p.m. EST UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Calling for unannounced inspections to detect any signs of a renewed Iraqi nuclear program, the International Atomic Energy Agency says it assumes Baghdad retains the capability to produce atomic weapons. In a report to a panel being created by the U.N. Security Council to assess Iraq's disarmament, the IAEA said nuclear inspectors have found no indication Iraq has retained prohibited nuclear material or equipment to make weapons. But the report obtained today stressed that this ``is not the same as a statement of their `non-existence'.' In drafting a long-term nuclear monitoring program, the IAEA said it is prudent to assume ``that Iraq has retained documents of its clandestine nuclear program, specimens of important components and possibly amounts of non-enriched uranium.'' ``It is similarly assumed that Iraq retains the capability to exploit, for nuclear weapons purposes, any relevant materials or technology to which it may gain access in the future,'' the IAEA said. The report submitted to the [UN Security] council Monday by the IAEA's director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, said ``it is essential that the IAEA return to Iraq as soon as possible.'' It is impossible to say whether Iraq remains in compliance with U.N. resolutions calling for the elimination of its nuclear program because inspectors have not been there for nearly two months, the report said. As a first step toward a new Iraq policy, the Security Council agreed Jan. 30 to establish three panels to assess Iraq's relations with the United Nations. The disarmament panel is to make recommendations by April 15 on re-establishing an effective disarmament program in Iraq. The IAEA report called for continued comprehensive and intrusive monitoring in the future, including unfettered access to any site and unannounced inspections, in order to provide ``a significant probability of detecting prohibited equipment, materials or activities.'' ******************** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html