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Various articles from Arabic News

All of these articles are from, except for the first:

*       Nicholas Soames calls for halt to air raids (Telegraph)
*       Chirac calls for adopting the French ideas to settle the Iraqi
*       French and US position on Iraq and Gulf states' double-speak 
*       Arguments over issue of Kuwaiti missing versus Iraqi captives 
*       Statement about oil prices from Arab Gulf oil ministers 
*       Moroccan political parties denounce sanctions in letter to Kofi
*       Cohem says US and British pilots have 'total freedom' to launch
operations above North and South Iraq 

Protest over Iraq air raids
Daily Telegraph, News in Brief, 12 March 1999

NICHOLAS SOAMES, armed forces minister in the last government, yesterday
called for an immediate halt to British air strikes against Iraq until
they were approved by MPs. He said the raids were "unacceptable" without
the authority of Parliament. The protest in the House came as Iraq
claimed further raids in the north and south by British and American
aircraft. A military spokesman quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency
claimed one plane may have been hit.

Chirac calls for adopting the French ideas to settle the Iraqi crisis
Arabic News, Gulf, Politics, 3/11/99

French President Jacques Chirac has reiterated his call to adopt the
French ideas to settle the Iraqi crisis. Assistant spokesperson for the
French Presidential Palace Fredrik Denranyu said on Wednesday in Paris
that during his meeting with the secretary general of the Gulf
Cooperation Council, the French president called for taking into account
the French ideas which are based on the three principles of monitoring
the Iraqi armament, financial monitoring of Iraqi resources and partial
lifting of the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq. The spokesperson said
that during the meeting Chirac expressed the hope of maintaining a
peaceful settlement between the United Arab Emirates and Iran over the
Greater Tanb, Lesser Tanb and Abu Mousa islands through resorting to
bilateral dialogue or arbitration at the International Court of Justice.
For his part Hujeilan said that talks with President Chirac dealt in
general with the situation in Iraq and relations between the GCC and

French and US position on Iraq and Gulf states' double-speak
Arabic News, Regional, Politics, 3/11/99

The French daily Liberation said on Tuesday that the Arab Gulf states
are in a real mess. They criticize the US raids on Iraq and at the same
time are still linked to Washington. In its Tuesday's issue, the French
paper added that US Defense Secretary William Cohen and French Foreign
Minister Hubert Vedrine recently visited the region. Cohen came to
defend the continued US air strikes on Iraq, whereas Vedrine came to
propose a political alternative to the strikes and criticized the air
bombardment against Iraq, the paper reported. The French daily added
that the alternative proposed by Vedrine to the United Arab Emirates,
Qatar and Kuwaitis embodied in monitoring the Iraqi armaments, lifting
the oil embargo and controlling the Iraqi financial resources, noting
that during his visit to the region Cohen saber rattling and did not
agree French thoughts which were welcomed in Abu Dhabi and Doha.

The French paper indicated that at a time when King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz
of Saudi Arabia announced when he met with Cohen that it is his duty to
"support and back the US" and this pleases him. Following the visit of
Cohen the Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz said that
"he has no relation with the bombardment on Iraq and that this
bombardment is an American matter." The paper holds the view that all
the countries of the Gulf except Kuwait speak in double language, "They
don't openly oppose the US but do let the press pour all its anger on
the US." The paper indicated that the Emir of Qatar and his senior aids
strongly criticize the US, but at the same time, Qatari has become the
largest US base outside the US. This base of Qatar is a sort of warplane
carrier amid the Gulf region.

Saudi -Kuwaiti opposition to inserting Iraqi captives issue in Arab
foreign ministers meetings
Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 3/11/99

The Gulf Cooperation Council states objected to the Iraqi demand to
insert an item on the agenda of 111th session of the AL council of Arab
foreign ministers, which is to be held on March 17 - 18 to solve the
problem of the Kuwaiti, Saudi and Iraqi missing. This problem stems from
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait where Kuwait claims that some 600 Kuwaitis
have been captured by Iraq and detained and have not been released. Iraq
claims that it has some of its own citizens and soldiers missing too and
want to have this issue dealt with at the same time as that of the
Kuwaitis. Kuwait says that there is no equivalence between the two
subjects and that they should be dealt with separately.

The deputy chairman of the national committee for Kuwaiti captives in
Iraq, Ibrahim Majed El-Shahin, discussed the latest developments in the
captives issue with Arab League Secretary General Esmat Abdul Meguid in
their meeting yesterday at Arab League headquarters. El-Shahin,
moreover, opposed the Iraqi request to insert the item of Saudi and
Kuwaiti losses on the agenda of the AL council, clarifying that the
issue of the Kuwaiti captives was always submitted to the AL and so it
calls on Iraq to free the captives, while in its paper Iraq calls for
examining the Kuwaiti and Saudi losses which it said contradicts with
the facts.

The Saudi permanent deputy at the Arab League Fouad Sadek said "We have
notified our total objection to Iraq's attempt to convert the captive's
issue into the issue of the missing," during the meeting of the
permanent deputies for Arab countries at the Arab League on Wednesday.
Following the meeting, Sadek confirmed that there is a Gulf coordination
and Arab agreement against the Iraqi suggestion, pointing out that the
captive issue is totally independent and "We do not want to restrict it
by the issue of alleged missing Iraqis," saying, "We have captives but
they are not missing and the Iraqi attempt is unacceptable."

Statement by Arab Gulf oil ministers
Arabic News, Gulf, Economics, 3/11/99

The oil ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman have asserted
that the reduction in oil prices and the increase in oil storage in the
world oil market is not in the interest of the oil-producing or
industrial countries in the short or long run. A statement issued by the
Gulf oil ministers following their meeting in al-Sheba district in the
Saudi Rubi' al-Khali (Empty Quarter) desert on Wednesday said the
current oil condition would have an adverse impact on the world economy
regarding the reduction of oil investment, a situation which may be
conducive to the recession of oil supplies. The statement added that the
Gulf oil ministers, who met in al-Sheba, will work through intensive
consultation with the oil-producing countries from inside and outside
OPEC to take all necessary measures in order to deal with the oil
market's condition, noting that among these measures are reducing
production to ensure the removal of the storage surplus from the market,
and thereby as a result oil prices will be higher. The statement added
that the countries which met at al-Sheba expressed their optimism on the
possibility of reaching within the coming weeks an effective agreement
that would provide stability in the international market and work for a
notable increase in oil process.

Moroccan political parties denounce sanctions against Iraqi people as
unfair decision
Arabic News, Morocco, Politics, 3/11/99

Four Moroccan political parties have denounced the embargo decreed
against Iraq as an unfair decision and contrary to human values and
called for lifting the sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people. The four
parties, which form the democratic koutla (Arabic word for bloc), have
pointed out in a letter to the U.N secretary general, Kofi Annan, that
the Iraqi people is suffering because of "an unfair decision whose
severity is contrary to human values." In the letter that was published
this Thursday by the press, the koutla members --namely the Socialist
Union of Popular Forces (USFP), the Istiqlal Party (PI), the Party for
Progress and Socialism (PPS) and the Organization for Democratic and
Popular Action (OADP)-- urge the U.N secretary general to spare no
effort to lift the embargo imposed on Iraq for more than eight years.
The U.N mission requires the world body to address this dossier from a
standpoint preserving world peace and protecting martyr peoples from the
injustice committed by the stronger, the letter said.

The letter signatories "officially" ask the U.N secretary general to
"submit without delay to the Security Council the question of the
immediate lifting of this embargo, which is contrary to the very values
of the United Nations." The Koutla members also brought up the issue of
international legality, noting that this notion has been "distorted for
Arab peoples because of the double-standard policy practiced by some
powers, mainly in the Middle East." "We insistently ask you to act so
that the U.N shoulders all its responsibilities for the preservation of
the territorial integrity and global national sovereignty of Iraq, which
implies the non-recognition of the no-fly zones and the rejection of the
interference of the United States in the internal affairs of peoples and
states," the letter stated.

The signatories renewed their keenness to see to it that "the national
unity and territorial integrity of all the countries of the region be
respected" so that "peace, democracy, stability and prosperity prevail
in all Arab countries without exception." Three of the four parties,
namely the USFP, the PI and the PPS, are participating in the current
Moroccan center-left coalition government. The OADP is backing the

Cohen concludes visit to Kuwait, says US is free to strike Iraq
Arabic News, Kuwait, Politics, 3/11/99

US Defense Minister William Cohen on Wednesday concluded his Gulf tour
following his two-day visit to Kuwait during which he held talks with
high-ranking Kuwaiti officials dealing with the latest developments in
the region and military cooperation between Kuwait and the USA. Cohen
reiterated in a pre-departure statement his country's commitment and
persistence over what he called "containing the Iraqi regime" and
ensuring the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council's member states.
Cohen added that his country and Kuwait have agreed to develop bilateral
military cooperation. He explained that an agreement was reached to
establish a system for monitoring armaments. Cohen continued that the US
and British war planes have the total freedom to launch their operations
in the Iraqi airspace in the northern and southern parts of Iraq.

Earlier in the day the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah,
met with Cohen. Present at the meeting were the Kuwaiti Crown Prince and
Premier Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah al-Sabah, Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah
al-Ahmad and Defense Minister Sheikh Salem al-Sabah. Talks dealt with
bilateral relations in the area of military cooperation between the two
countries and the latest developments in the region. After the Gulf War
in 1991, Kuwait signed a 10-year defense agreement with the United

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