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* British, Dutch to Offer Resolutions for Iraq (LA Times) * Iraqi authorities criticize UN Security Council (Arabic News) * Iraqi opposition delegation prepares for meeting with Albright, Berger (Arabic News) * Egypt Turns Down Iraq Opposition (Associated Press) * Illicit Turkish diesel trade with Iraq on the rise (Reuters) * Russia Wants Iraq Sanctions Ended (Associated Press) * Europeans May Ease Iraq Sanctions (Associated Press) ******************** British, Dutch to Offer Resolution on U.N. Inspections, Foreign Oil Investments in Iraq By JANET WILSON, Times Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times UNITED NATIONS--Britain and the Netherlands plan to introduce a Security Council resolution that could allow foreign oil companies to invest in Iraq if President Saddam Hussein cooperates with U.N. weapons inspectors, and if a team of experts to be assembled by Secretary-General Kofi Annan recommends it. "We want to move full-steam ahead on humanitarian provisions to the people of Iraq," a British diplomat at the U.N. said Tuesday. "We are not in the business of relaxing Saddam's compliance with Security Council resolutions. This allows for investment in the Iraqi oil industry only after Iraq has demonstrated compliance in certain areas." Under the plan, Hussein would have to allow weapons inspectors full access for 120 days under a newly formed U.N. Commission on Inspection and Monitoring. At the same time, Annan would appoint a panel of experts to report on Iraq's humanitarian needs and how the nation could increase its oil production to buy food, medicine and other necessities for civilians. The panel could recommend increasing the number of oil export outlets allowed under the oil-for-food program. The program, which will expire Monday but has been routinely extended in the past, allows Iraq to sell $5.25 billion worth of oil every six months in order to buy emergency goods for ordinary Iraqis suffering under sanctions imposed since Baghdad's troops invaded Kuwait in 1990. A spokesman for the secretary-general said he himself had heard nothing about the proposal. Annan is traveling overseas, and a routine report from his office on the oil-for-food program is expected to be released this week. Both France and China could have potentially lucrative oil contracts with Iraq if sanctions are lifted. They have been backing a competing Russian resolution that would lift sanctions as demands for information about humanitarian concerns or weapons are met. The British and Dutch resolution, which is expected to be introduced Friday, would only declare the "intention to consider" lifting sanctions if Hussein met conditions. ******************** Iraqi authorities criticize UN Security Council Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/19/99 The Iraqi authorities accused the UN Security Council of confiscating Iraqi funds specified for buying humanitarian supplies, and demanded the halt of any sectors paying compensation for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 from the revenues of petroleum payments according to the agreement ratified with the United Nations. An official source in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said today that issuing the Security Council to keep 30% of the funds of Iraqi petroleum payments as compensation for the war forms a great obstruction toward fulfilling the basic needs of Iraq for food and medicine. The source added that hundreds of millions of dollars that were taken from Iraqi funds since the beginning of the oil-for-food program in 1997 could have contributed to carrying out this program correctly. Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf complained in his message to AL's secretary general that the sums estimated for the war compensation were not reached due to the lessened ability of Iraq to export petroleum and low petroleum prices. ******************** Iraqi opposition delegation prepares for meeting with Albright, Berger Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/19/99 A leader of the Iraqi opposition said on Tuesday that a delegation representing the Iraqi opposition will head for Washington next Monday in order to ask for US military protection in the framework of efforts to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Leader of the "Iraqi National Accord Movement," Eyad Allawi, said the provisional presidency of the executive council of the "national congress" is planning for an armed "uprising" that will be conducive to toppling Saddam Hussein. Allawi did not explain when the operation would start, but he indicated that such an "uprising" will follow a meeting of the opposition organizations to be held in July in the Kurdistan area of Iraq. He added that the rebellion will start from the region which falls under the Kurds in Kurdistan. Allawi told the AP in a telephone call from London, "We will tell the Americans that Iraqi Kurdistan should be converted into a secure haven for the opposition Iraqi organizations in confrontation of Saddam's attacks." He added that the "protection request" will be submitted to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the advisor of the US President for national security, Sandy Berger, the two US officials with whom the Iraqi opposition will meet in Washington. He stated that the delegation will ask the US administration to ensure "full protection" for a plenary meeting the opposition intends to convene in the Kurdish area. Last year, the US congress ratified "the law for liberating Iraq," according to which Washington was authorized to provide weapons to opposition organizations at a value of US $97 million. Allawi said that opposition members who are active inside Iraq have recently escalated their attacks against the Iraqi government and members of the ruling Baath Party. On Saturday, Baghdad admitted that violations took place in Basra two months ago and accused the revolutionary guards in Iran of being involved in it. ******************** Egypt Turns Down Iraq Opposition By Salah Nasrawi, Associated Press Writer, Wednesday, May 19, 1999; 12:57 p.m. EDT CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Egypt has turned down a request by Saddam Hussein's opponents to host a key strategy session in Cairo, Arab diplomats said Wednesday. The diplomats said a delegation from the newly formed leadership of the Iraqi National Congress visited Cairo last week to discuss the meeting with Egyptian officials. Egypt refused to allow them to hold a session to set up an Iraqi parliament in exile and agree on a military and political strategy to oust Saddam. The dissidents shifted the meeting, set for July, to a northern Iraqi area controlled by Kurdish dissidents. However, some may consider it risky to meet in Iraq. Egypt has always refused to support attempts to get rid of Saddam, saying it does not want to interfere in another country's internal affairs. President Hosni Mubarak has also described attempts to help Iraqi opposition groups as futile. Egypt's relations with Iraq improved recently after Baghdad increased its trade with Cairo under the U.N.-sponsored oil-for-food deal. Still, the meeting with Iraqi National Congress officials could signal that Egypt supports U.S. efforts to work with Iraqi opposition groups seeking to overthrow Saddam. The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said though Egypt did not want to be the site of a high-profile gathering, it promised to continue its contacts with the Iraqi groups. Representatives of the two Kurdish parties that control northern Iraq have offices in Cairo, and a small group of Iraqi dissidents also lives in the Egyptian capital. In April, leaders of several Iraqi opposition groups agreed to set up a united leadership to supervise and execute the anti-Saddam campaign. Last year, the U.S. Congress agreed to provide $97 million to the opposition groups to help them implement the plan. President Clinton has proclaimed that Saddam's ouster is a major U.S. goal. Recent reports in the Arab press suggested that the Clinton administration has asked some of Iraq's Arab neighbors to extend help to Saddam's opponents. ******************** Illicit Turkish diesel trade with Iraq on the rise May 18, 1999, Web posted at: 6:11 PM EDT (2211 GMT) DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) -- A lucrative trade in illegal diesel between Turkey and neighboring northern Iraq has soared after Baghdad increased its fuel supplies to the Kurdish-held north, Turkish customs officials said on Tuesday. They said the number of lorries making the daily trip across Turkey's Iraq border to purchase the fuel from a Kurd-controlled enclave there had doubled to around 1,000 from 500. The diesel inflow to Turkey rises and falls with political developments in Iraq. In December, Baghdad halted supplies to the north after being bombed by U.S. and British planes over its refusal to comply with U.N. arms inspections. When the trade resumed at the end of the year the volume of traffic fell to around 250 lorries a day, creeping up to 500 lorries a day in recent weeks. Each truck can carry more than four tons of diesel. The fuel is produced in oilfields near the Iraqi city of Kirkuk and transported to northern Iraq, which is controlled by two rival Iraqi Kurdish factions. Although the cross-border trade is technically a violation of U.N. sanctions on Iraq, western powers turn a blind eye to it, effectively aiding ally Turkey which has been hard hit by the sanctions on a former trading partner. Multinational oil companies operating in Turkey lobby for curbs on the illicit trade, which totalled some 2.5 million tons last year but Ankara is reluctant to limit the inflow. It sees the fuel as an important source of income for many in the poverty-stricken, mainly Kurdish southeast where Turkish troops have been fighting a Kurdish rebel group for 14 years. Earlier this year, the Turkish government set an annual limit of 1.2 million tons for illicit diesel entering the country, but Prime Minister-designate Bulent Ecevit later pledged during his election campaign to raise the level. ******************** Russia Wants Iraq Sanctions Ended By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press Writer, Wednesday, May 19, 1999; 10:51 p.m. EDT UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Russia, China and France suggested Wednesday that the Security Council suspend sanctions on Iraq once a new arms monitoring system is in place, part of a new round of negotiations on drafting a new U.N. policy for Baghdad. The United States immediately rejected the proposal and said it would instead consider an alternative draft resolution submitted Tuesday by Britain and the Netherlands which calls for foreign investment in Iraq's oil sector after U.N. arms inspections resume. ``We're looking favorably at that draft,'' Deputy U.S. Ambassador Peter Burleigh said as he headed into a meeting of the permanent members of the council to hear Russia detail its proposal. Russia had initially suggested lifting sanctions on Iraq entirely, arguing that the removal of the oil embargo was the only way to persuade Iraq to allow the United Nations to resume overseeing the destruction of its weapons of mass destruction. China and France have signed on to the new Russian draft, which says sanctions that have crippled the Iraqi economy for nearly nine years would be suspended for 100 days after Secretary-General Kofi Annan reports that a system of monitoring Iraq's banned weapons programs is operational. The suspension would roll over every 100 days unless Annan reports that the monitoring regime isn't working effectively. Iraq's foreign assets would remain frozen. On the weapons front, the Russian draft says that Iraq has been disarmed to the extent that a system of monitoring can be established to prevent Iraq from rebuilding its banned weapons programs. ``We don't accept it. We reject it,'' Burleigh said, stressing that the United States doesn't agree that Iraq is fully disarmed. The British-Dutch draft resolution calls for a similar system of monitoring, but ties it more closely to the inspection system that was established in 1991 at the end of the Gulf War. If Iraq submits to the new monitoring, the draft calls for the Security Council to consider approving new ways to increase Baghdad's oil exports, including foreign investment, so that more money can be funnelled into the U.N. oil-for-food program. The humanitarian program allows Iraq to sell $5.26 billion in oil over six months provided the money be used to buy food and medicine for Iraqis. ******************** Europeans May Ease Iraq Sanctions By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer, Wednesday, May 19, 1999; 1:40 a.m. EDT UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United States is willing to consider a proposal for a new U.N. relationship with Iraq that would allow foreign companies to invest in Iraq's oil industry if Baghdad cooperates with U.N. arms inspectors, a U.S. official says. The proposed British-Dutch resolution circulated Tuesday says Iraq must let U.N. inspectors resume monitoring Iraq's weapons programs and provide ``unconditional and unrestricted access'' to all facilities and records for four months before any such investments would be considered. Before the United States gives its approval, it wants to study the exact conditions that Baghdad would have to meet for the U.N. Security Council to consider authorizing any foreign investment, the U.S. official said. ``In other words, it's not ruled out,'' the official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity. The U.S. willingness to consider foreign investment in what oil industry experts say could be among the most lucrative undeveloped oil fields in the world represents a significant shift in Washington's position. Only a month ago, deputy U.S. Ambassador Peter Burleigh rejected the recommendation of a U.N. expert panel to allow foreign investment in Iraq's struggling oil sector to help Baghdad buy food and medicine for ordinary Iraqis. He argued that the investments would have the unintended effect of lifting some sanctions imposed after Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. U.S. officials have indicated, however, that they're unlikely to back a major overhaul of Iraq's oil sector -- but would support limited foreign investment that would increase revenue for the U.N. oil-for-food program. The program allows Iraq to sell $5.2 billion worth of oil to buy humanitarian goods, but Baghdad has been unable to meet the limit because of low oil prices and production problems. Iraq has rejected foreign investment in the oil sector, saying it would reduce the country to ``an entity under the trusteeship of the United Nations.'' The Security Council established three panels in February to chart a new relationship with Iraq, help ordinary Iraqis cope with the effects of sanctions, and restart arms inspections that were halted by U.S. and British airstrikes in mid-December. Iraq also rejected recommendations of the panels -- on disarmament, humanitarian problems and Kuwait related-issues -- because they did not meet Baghdad's key demand that the oil embargo be lifted. And Baghdad is likely to reject the British-Dutch draft for the same reason. A rival Russian proposal, backed by China and France, does call for economic sanctions to be lifted once a system to monitor Iraq's weapons programs is in place, but it is strongly opposed by Washington. Diplomats said Russia is expected to discuss a revised draft today with the four other permanent Security Council members -- the United States, Britain, China and France. U.N. arms inspectors must verify the elimination of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before the council can move to lift sanctions. ******************** Pope Hopes to Make Trip to Iraq Thursday, May 20, 1999; 9:52 a.m. EDT VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope John Paul II hopes to make his long-desired trip to Iraq later this year, the Vatican said Thursday. Along with a pilgrimage to the biblical birthplace of Abraham, such a trip would likely include a politically charged meeting with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. John Paul long has spoken out against international sanctions and airstrikes on Iraq, citing the suffering of ordinary Iraqis. A meeting with the pope could be seen as a boost for the Iraqi leader, unwavering in his defiance of U.S.-led allies and their terms for ending the airstrikes and embargo. Iraqi dissidents have urged John Paul against making the trip, saying it would gain undeserved international sympathy for a regime guilty of persistent human rights violations. John Paul and the Vatican have long expressed hope for a papal millennium tour of biblical sites, including the ruins of Ur, the traditional home of the prophet Abraham in ancient Mesopotamia, now Iraq. The trip has yet to be decided, no date or itinerary have been set and the church has yet to make even the usual advance trip, said a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini. ``Right now, it's only a plan,'' Benedettini stressed. Typically, final confirmation of a trip comes from the host country, two months before a visit. An Iraq trip would likely be a separate one, not tagged onto a proposed Asian trip or any other, Benedettini said. If the trip comes off, it would be expected that the pope, as a head of state, would follow his normal practice of meeting with Iraq's head of state, Saddam, Benedettini said. John Paul's past trips have brought him in contact with other leaders isolated by the United States and other Western countries. The pope visited Nigeria in March 1998, urging then-ruler Gen. Sani Abacha to free political detainees. He made the same appeal to Fidel Castro in a momentous trip to Cuba the same year, seen as helping to open up Cuba to the world. Christians make up about 5 percent of Iraq's 22 million people. An officially secular state, Iraq's people are overwhelmingly Muslim. The international community imposed economic sanctions on Iraq in the wake of Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It has resorted to airstrikes to try to overcome Iraq's refusal to comply with terms set for lifting of the sanctions, including proving to the United Nations' satisfaction that it has dismantled its weapons of mass destruction. ******************** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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