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Iraq Shuts Paper for Currency Story (Associated Press)
AL reiterates Iraq's territorial integrity (Arabic News)
Iran rules out normalisation of relations with Iraq (BBC Online)

Iraq Shuts Paper for Currency Story 
By Leon Barkho, Associated Press Writer, Friday, May 7, 1999; 11:42 a.m.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq has closed a state-controlled newspaper,
accusing it of false reporting for an article that caused the currency
to plummet. The Al-Musawir al-Arabi newspaper quoted the Central Bank
governor April 25 as saying he was going to issue larger denominations
of currency because existing notes were virtually worthless. Iraq's
largest bill is 250 dinars, or about 13 cents. After publication of the
article, the dinar fell to its lowest value since Iraq started exporting
oil under the U.N. oil-for-food program in 1996. 

President Saddam Hussein and the Cabinet decided Thursday night to close
Al-Musawir al-Arabi for ``publishing a false report on the intention to
issue a new banknote of a high value,'' the official Iraqi News Agency
said. Central Bank Governor Issam Hwesih denied the report two days
later, but this failed to allay market fears. At one point last week,
the dinar fell to 2,250 to the dollar. The closure of Al-Musawir
al-Arabi appeared to help the dinar Friday, as it rose to 2,080 to the
dollar. U.N. trade sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of
Kuwait have crippled the economy. Before the invasion, $1 bought about
three dinars on the black market. 

Money changers, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated
Press that Al-Musawir al-Arabi had been made a scapegoat. They blamed
the dinar's fluctuations on the chaotic state of the economy and the
inconsistencies in the government's financial policies. 

AL reiterates Iraq's territorial integrity
Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/7/99

Arab League Secretary General Esmat Abdul Meguid has asserted the desire
of the AL to maintain Iraq's unity and territorial integrity and to
oppose any attempt made to interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq.

In a statement following his meeting on Thursday with Iraqi Minister of
Justice Shabib al-Maliki, the AL chief reiterated the AL opposition to
the no-fly zones imposed on the northern and southern parts of Iraq. He
added that such an embargo is not based on international legitimacy

He indicated that the AL is in continued contact with the UN, the UN
secretary general, the UN Security Council president and the
decision-taking countries in order to lift the suffering and to
reconsider already-taken measures as well as not to permit the return of
UNSCOM chaired by Richard Butler in any form to Iraq.

For its part, the Iraqi dailies issued on Thursday called on UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan to work for lifting the embargo imposed on
Iraq and not to be confined to calls to improve Iraq's humanitarian

BBC Online, Saturday, May 8, 1999 Published at 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Iran criticises Iraq on relations 

The Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, has ruled out
normalisation of ties with Iraq at present.  In an interview with an
English language newspaper in Iran Kayhan Mr Kharrazi said there was no
strong political will in Baghdad to resolve its problems with Iran. He
said Tehran had taken steps for the normalisation of relations but a lot
of obstacles remained.  Correspondents point out that the two countries
have not yet signed a peace treaty after their eight-year long war in
the eighties, with the unknown fate of thousands of prisoners of war
representing one of the main obstacles to an improvement in relations.

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