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All of these articles are from ArabicNews.com, except for the first: * Nicholas Soames calls for halt to air raids (Telegraph) * Chirac calls for adopting the French ideas to settle the Iraqi crisis * 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 Annan * 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 Iran. ******************** 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 government. ******************** 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 States. ******************** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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