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Iraq Pipeline Resumes Pumping Oil

                  Iraq Pipeline Resumes Pumping Oil 

                  By Waiel Faleh
                  Associated Press Writer
                  Thursday, March 4, 1999; 3:27 a.m. EST

                  BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq resumed shipping oil to
                  Turkey early today through a pipeline shut down when
                  U.S. airstrikes damaged communication centers that
                  control the flow of oil. 

                  The Iraqi Oil Ministry said in a statement that work at
                  the two centers hit by U.S. warplanes Sunday and
                  Monday in northern Iraq resumed at dawn. Oil was
                  flowing at normal levels, it said. 

                  About half the oil Iraq exports flows through the
                  Iraqi-Turkish pipeline, some 1 million barrels a day. 

                  ``Oil Ministry employees ... were able to fix the damage
                  caused by the frustrated American ravens,'' the
                  statement said. 

                  Neither Iraq nor the United Nations, which first reported
                  that oil was flowing again, said how Iraqi engineers
                  repaired the damage. 

                  Iraq has been barred from exporting oil freely since U.N.
                  sanctions were imposed in 1990 to punish Iraq for
                  invading Kuwait. Under a U.N. oil-for-food program, Iraq
                  can sell $5.2 billion in oil over six months to buy food,
                  medicine and other humanitarian goods. 

                  United Nations officials had expressed concern about
                  the impact of the two airstrikes on the oil-for-food

                  Low oil prices and the dilapidated state of Iraq's oil
                  industry have resulted in a $900 million shortfall in what
                  the United Nations needs to run the program. 

                  On Wednesday, the program's leader, Benon Sevan,
                  told the U.N. Security Council in New York that if the oil
                  flow resumed within a day, there would be only
                  ``minimal delays'' in exporting oil out of the Turkish port

                  There had been enough oil stored at the port -- 2.38
                  million barrels -- to keep ships carrying their normal
                  loads, he said. 

                  American and British planes have hit Iraqi sites almost
                  daily since mid-December. In the U.N. Security Council
                  meeting Wednesday, the United States and Britain
                  defended themselves against criticism of the strikes. 

                  Deputy U.S. Ambassador Nancy Soderberg said the
                  U.S. pilots were acting in self-defense as they patrolled
                  the ``no-fly'' zones, which Washington and its allies
                  established after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to protect
                  minority Kurds in northern Iraq and Shiites in the south
                  from President Saddam Hussein's army. 

                  Washington argues that the ``no-fly'' zones are justified
                  under U.N. Security Council resolutions that call for the
                  protection of minorities in Iraq. Russia and China,
                  however, say the council has never explicitly authorized
                  the ``no-fly'' zones, and they maintain that the patrols
                  violate Iraq's sovereignty. 

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