The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

From the news

*       UN says Iraqi vaccine plant produced biological weapons
*       King Fahd of Saudi Arabia offers to host Iraqi pilgrims (BBC)
*       Arab League session avoids "fishing in a troubled water" (Arabic
*       Saudi Arabia agrees to slash oil production by half a million
barrels per day in effort to encourage oil price rise (BBC)

U.N says Iraqi vaccine plant produced germ weapons
March 18, 1999, Web posted at: 5:46 PM EST (2246 GMT) 

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Iraqi laboratory equipment destroyed by U.N.
inspectors was used to produce biological weapons and not vaccine to
fight foot and mouth disease, as claimed by Iraq, chief U.N. inspector
Richard Butler said on Thursday.  In a letter to the president of the
Security Council, he rejected Iraqi complaints that the disease had
spread among Iraqi livestock because the equipment used to manufacture
vaccine had been scrapped. 

Butler said Iraq in November 1991 told the U.N. Special Commission
(UNSCOM) in charge of scrapping its weapons of mass destruction that the
plant, at Daura, was a civilian facility for the production of vaccines.
But following U.N. inspections, analyses and investigations, Iraq
admitted in July 1995 it was "not a purely civilian facility, but had
been used for biological warfare agent production, research and
development."  Iraq then said the plant had been taken over in 1990 by
the technical research centre for its biological warfare program and
that "large-scale production of the biological warfare agent botulinum
toxin took place at this facility, using some of the equipment procured
for foot and mouth disease vaccine production," Butler said.  Research
was also undertaken on viral agents, "including camelpox, enterovirus 70
and rotavirus," he added. 

Butler said Iraq further declared that a genetic engineering research
and development program was initiated for biological warfare purposes at
the facility.  Although production of foot and mouth disease vaccine was
briefly resumed in 1992 "as part of Iraq's attempt to conceal its
biological warfare program," it discontinued all production of the
vaccine after September 1992, though staff and equipment remained at the
site.  After that, Iraq imported foot and mouth disease vaccine, as it
had done previously, Butler said. 

In 1996, 28 pieces of equipment identified by Iraq as used for
biological warfare production were removed from the facility and
destroyed by Iraq under UNSCOM supervision.  Special air-handling
equipment was disabled while some 40 major pieces of equipment
originally imported for the production of foot and mouth disease vaccine
remained, since their use in the biological warfare program had not been
established, Butler said.

Friday, March 19, 1999 Published at 17:43 GMT 
BBC Online: Saudi King pays for pilgrims

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia has agreed to pay the visa costs of up to
20,000 Iraqi pilgrims who entered the country illegally.  The pilgrims,
determined to perform the annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, had poured
over the Saudi border without visas, and with little food and money.
The pilgrims, who were lead by senior Iraqi officials, drove through two
checkpoints and did not stop until they reached the border town of Arar.
The Saudi Arabian monarch dissipated the tension by agreeing to host the
pilgrims and to pay their costs. 

Correspondents say Iraq appears to be using the  annual Hajj pilgrimage
to highlight the harsh effects of United Nations sanctions imposed after
Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. 

Once visas are issued the pilgrims will be transported nearly 2,000 km
to Mecca in buses provided by the Iraqi authorities. The development
comes after Saudi Arabia released an Iraqi plane carrying Hajj pilgrims
which landed in the country sparking a diplomatic row.  Saudi
authorities seized the aircraft fearing the flight had broken UN
sanctions.  They wrote to the UN sanctions committee asking for urgent
advice.  But the committee was unable to reach agreement as member
states have different views on whether the flight constitutes a
violation of UN sanctions.  Saudi Arabia says it will follow a similar
procedure with any more Iraqi planes carrying pilgrims. 

AL session avoids mention of prisoners, missing and no-fly zones
Arabic News, Regional, Politics, 3/19/99

The meetings of the Arab foreign ministers that concluded in Cairo on
Thursday did not witness any dramatic development after an Arab
committee including Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasem, the
chairman of the Moroccan delegation, Abdul Salam Zenand and Arab League
Secretary General Esmat Abdul Meguid in convincing Iraqi Foreign
Minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahaf from omitting the two issues of the
Iraqi, Kuwaiti and Saudi missing and the two no-fly zones in the
northern and southern parts of Iraq from the agenda, under the condition
that the two issues will be referred to in a decision released by the
council by a report for the AL chief.

The decision assigned the AL chief to create a mechanism to settle
humanitarian issues between Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. It avoided
mentioning the no-fly zones in the northern and southern parts of Iraq
by asserting the territorial integrity of Iraq and the security of its
neighboring countries, demanding the halt of acts conducted against Iraq
in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

In a press conference held on Thursday afternoon, the AL chief stressed
that the decision was approved unanimously, whereas it was viewed by the
Iraqi foreign minister "as a step forward concerning Arab backing to
Iraq, but it is not enough." The AL chief described the atmosphere of
the meeting as "positive" rejecting doubts about the said decision
because it did not take a certain stand for backing Iraq. "I reject the
policy of fishing in a troubled water," Abdul Meguid said.

On the other hand, the Arab committee in charge of the Iraqi file
(including the foreign ministers of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE,
Jordan, Yemen and Bahrain) did not meet as scheduled due to Iraq's
continued reservations because it is not a member of the committee.
Abdul Meguid said the committee did not meet because "conditions are not

Saturday, March 20, 1999 Published at 11:21 GMT 
BBC Online: Saudis to lead Gulf oil cuts 

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of oil, has confirmed it's
prepared to slash oil production in an attempt to encourage a rise in
international oil prices.  The decision to cut production by
five-hundred-thousand barrels a day was announced at a meeting of Gulf
Arab oil ministers; Saudi Arabia said it had already informed its
customers.  Other Gulf states also agreed to reduce production, and the
Qatari oil minister, Abdallah al-Attiya, said he believed prices would
recover -- but only if producers stuck fully to their pledged cuts.
Prices began to rise last year after cuts were agreed, but quickly
tumbled after Venezuela and a number of other countries continued to
produce way beyond their quotas. 


This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To be removed/added, email, NOT the
whole list. Archived at

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]