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Iraq news



 UN Security Council extends oil-for-food program (Arabic News)
 U.N. OKs Some Assistance to Iraqis (Associated Press)
 Iraq Says Not Yet Told Of Oil Deal Renewal (Fox News/Reuters)
 US Jets Attack Iraqi Defense Sites: 2 civilians injured (Associated Press)
 Turk border patrols kill nine Iraqi and Iranian migrants (Reuters)
 Rubin: US invited Iraqi opposition (Arabic News)
 Iraq prepares to deter attempts to topple Saddam Hussein (Arabic News)
 U.N.: Iraq Stockpiles Medicines (Associated Press)

[Harriet's note: The first two articles are different accounts of the same 
thing - the most recent extension of the Oil For Food Programme - with the 
AP taking the stance that OFF represents "assistance" - i.e., aid - rather 
than legitimate sales. Note the Deputy US Ambassador's (Peter Burleigh's) 
potentially sinister statement that: 'Washington was willing to expand the 
program ``in response to humanitarian needs,'' as long as the proceeds from 
oil sales don't migrate into the coffers of Iraqi President Saddam 
Hussein.']

********************
UN Security Council extends oil-for-food program
Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/22/99

The United Nations Security Council has extended the current phase of the 
oil-for-food program with Iraq for 180 days, during which Iraq will be able 
to sell up to $5.26 billion total for the current phase of petroleum and 
petroleum products. Up to $300 million of the total can be used to purchase 
parts and equipment to be used in producing oil to help Iraq meet its quota. 
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will submit by June 30 a list of the parts 
and equipment Iraq needs to reach its production allotment.

The Security Council will review the implementation of the resolution, which 
takes effect on May 25, 90 days after the extension begins to assess Iraq's 
distribution of humanitarian supplies. Annan will submit a report at that 
time "on whether Iraq has ensured the equitable distribution of medicine, 
health supplies, foodstuffs, and materials and supplies for essential 
civilian needs" and on whether the amount allotted by the Security Council 
is sufficient to meet Iraqi humanitarian needs.

According to a report submitted by Annan, there is a three-month delay 
between submitting requests for medicines and medical equipment to a 
warehouse in Kimadia where the supplies are stored and the fulfillment of 
the requests. "However, as the amount of drugs, supplies and equipment 
remaining in warehouses has risen to almost $300 million, concern about the 
efficiency of distribution has increased," the report said. The report noted 
several reasons for the delays, including a "the decline in professional 
competence and motivation," as well as problems with technical capability of 
the staff, poor inventory management, and the erratic arrival of goods.

Security Council representative Andrei Granovsky of Russia criticized the 
current humanitarian program as being unable to guarantee the survival of 
the Iraqi population. He also condemned the US and British attacks against 
Iraq in the no-fly zone as illegal, adding that they had caused the death of 
numerous Iraqi civilians. He said the sanctions must be lifted to solve the 
humanitarian problems in Iraq and characterized the lifting of the sanctions 
as a very important matter for the Security Council. US representative Peter 
Burleigh said that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein bears the primary 
responsibility for the humanitarian problems in Iraq. He called on Iraq to 
cooperate in implementation of the program. Chinese representative Qin 
Huasun blamed the US and UK air strikes in the no-fly zones for worsening 
the humanitarian situation in Iraq, calling for an immediate halt to 
military operations against Iraq.

********************
U.N. OKs Some Assistance to Iraqis
By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer, Friday, May 21, 1999; 7:27 
p.m. EDT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council agreed Friday to extend for 
six months a humanitarian program financed by oil exports to help ordinary 
Iraqis cope with economic sanctions. The vote to continue the oil-for-food 
program was unanimous, but the 15 council members remain deeply divided on 
how to improve humanitarian conditions and restart U.N. arms inspections 
that were halted by U.S. and British airstrikes in mid-December. Council 
members generally support Secretary-General Kofi Annan's recent report, 
which concluded that oil-for-food has made ``a substantial difference'' but 
could not -- and was never meant to -- meet all the humanitarian needs of 
the Iraqi people.

The council launched the program in 1996 to provide food, medicine and other 
humanitarian aid for Iraqis suffering under sanctions imposed after 
Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The program allows Iraq to export $5.26 
billion in oil over six months to buy humanitarian supplies, as well as 
compensate Gulf War victims and fund U.N. operations in Iraq. The resolution 
adopted Friday renews the oil-for-food program under the same terms, but 
promises to review, and possibly raise, the $5.26 billion ceiling on oil 
exports should Iraq reach that target.

Russia, China and France stressed that while oil-for-food eased some of the 
suffering of the Iraqi people, only the lifting of sanctions could solve the 
country's humanitarian crisis. ``The steps being taken within the framework 
of this program hardly guarantee the physical survival of the population,'' 
Russian envoy Andrey Granovsky said. Russia has drafted a resolution, backed 
by China and France, that would suspend economic sanctions against Iraq once 
a system to monitor Baghdad's weapons program is in place.

But the United States and Britain remain vehemently opposed to any 
suspension or lifting of sanctions. They argue that Iraq has failed to 
account for its weapons of mass destruction, and say ending sanctions would 
only reward Baghdad for bad behavior. The Security Council cannot lift 
sanctions until U.N. arms inspectors verify the elimination of Iraq's 
weapons of mass destruction. Iraq insists its banned weapons have been 
destroyed, and is demanding that sanctions be lifted.

The council debate on a long-term Iraqi policy is expected to last weeks. 
U.S. deputy ambassador Peter Burleigh said Washington was willing to expand 
the program ``in response to humanitarian needs,'' as long as the proceeds 
from oil sales don't migrate into the coffers of Iraqi President Saddam 
Hussein.

Iraq is expected to sell a record $3.9 billion worth of oil in the current 
six-month phase, about $900 million over the previous high. A strong 
recovery in oil prices coupled with Iraq's ability to export close to 2 
million barrels a day enabled Baghdad to set the revenue record.

********************
Iraq Says Not Yet Told Of Oil Deal Renewal
Fox News, 9.31 a.m. ET (1331 GMT) May 22, 1999

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A senior Iraqi government oil official said Saturday Iraq 
had not been informed officially of the extension of an "oil-for-food'' deal 
with the United Nations for another six months. "We will continue (oil 
exports) under the fifth phase of the oil deal and we have not received 
anything official to continue after that,'' Faleh al-Khayat, director 
general of planning and studies at the Oil Ministry, told reporters. The 
current phase of the agreement expires Monday.

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to extend the existing 
humanitarian program for another six months. The council's resolution allows 
Iraq to sell $5.26 billion worth of oil every six months to purchase food, 
medicine and other necessities for its people, suffering under U.N. 
sanctions imposed after Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait in August 1990. But 
extension of the plan would only take effect if Iraq agreed to continue the 
oil sales, providing revenues that go into a U.N. account to pay for 
humanitarian goods.

Asked whether Iraq would renew the deal for another six months, Khayat said: 
"We have heard of that (resolution) as you might do, but we have not been 
informed officially.'' There has been no official Iraqi reaction to the 
Security Council decision.

A leading official in the ruling Baath party said Saturday Iraq would not 
accept any U.N. resolution that did not call for an end to trade sanctions. 
"Iraq will not accept anything less than lifting the embargo, (having) met 
all its commitments to U.N. Security Council resolutions,'' said Abdul-Ghani 
Abdul-Ghafur, a senior member of the ruling Baath party. "Attempts by 
Washington and London to make the oil-for-food and medicine deal a status 
quo are part of a hidden agenda against Iraq and its people,'' the official 
Iraqi News Agency quoted Abdul-Ghafur as saying, but it was not clear if his 
comments were in response to Friday's Security Council resolution. Iraqi 
officials and media have been very critical of the oil-for-food deal, saying 
it has failed to offset suffering of the people and local newspapers have 
called on the government not to renew the agreement.

********************
US Jets Attack Iraqi Defense Sites
Sunday, May 23, 1999; 2:13 p.m. EDT

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- U.S. warplanes struck at Iraqi military sites on 
Sunday, responding to artillery fire during a routine patrol of the no-fly 
zone in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said. Air Force F-15Es bombed the 
Iraqi defense systems west of the Iraqi city of Mosul, 250 miles north of 
Baghdad, said a statement from the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey. 
Baghdad claimed that two civilians were injured in the attack, the official 
Iraqi News Agency reported. It did not say where the two were injured. The 
U.S. military said the jets left the scene safely. U.S. and British 
warplanes are taking part in Operation Northern Watch that enforces a no-fly 
zone above the 36th parallel in Iraq to protect Iraqi Kurds. A similar 
no-fly zone in southern Iraq has been set up to protect Shiite minorities. 
Iraq has been challenging the enforcement of the no-fly zones, which were 
set up following the 1991 Gulf War, since mid-December, triggering 
retaliatory actions by U.S. and British jets. Iraq has claimed several 
casualties in the attacks and the U.S. has accused Baghdad of installing air 
defense systems in civilian areas.

********************
WIRE:May 22, 10:21 a.m. ET
Turk border patrols kill nine Iraqis, Iranians

ANKARA, May 22 (Reuters) - Turkish security patrols have  killed nine Iraqis 
and Iranians trying illegally to cross the  country's eastern border with 
Iran, state-run Anatolian news  agency said on Saturday.  The agency said 
border troops opened fire on the group after  they ignored warnings to stop. 
It did not say when the incident  took place, nor how many of the migrants 
were Iraqis or  Iranians. Another 36 people were arrested in the same 
incident which  occured in the district of Baskale in the province of Van.  
Turkey has become a springboard for those trying to enter  Europe from 
poorer countries to the east.

Iran protested to Turkey over the reported killings of seven  Iranians in 
the border region earlier this month. Turkey denied  the killings.  The 
rugged mountainous area is the scene of frequent clashes  between Turkish 
troops and Kurdish guerrillas who Ankara says  slip across the border to 
launch raids in their fight for  self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish 
southeast.

********************
Rubin: US invited Iraqi opposition
Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/22/99

US State Department Spokesman James Rubin said yesterday that a delegation 
of the Iraqi National Congress interim leadership has been invited to visit 
the United States to "exchange views on how to relieve the suffering of the 
Iraqi people by promoting the transition to a democratic and pluralistic 
Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbors." He said the interim leadership 
committee is made up of leaders of seven opposition groups belonging to the 
Iraqi National Congress and that there will be about a dozen participants in 
the delegation that is to visit Washington. "Obviously, some of these 
activities are being supported by funds appropriated for the Iraqi 
opposition; others are being supported by the opposition leaders 
themselves," Rubin said. He added, "My understanding is that the Secretary 
[US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright] intends to meet with them, but 
we're still working on the scheduling for such a visit."

Rubin stated, replying to reporters' questions, that US money likely helped 
pay for the meeting of the Iraqi National Congress interim leadership 
committee which concluded yesterday in London, saying, "Probably some funds 
are made available for precisely the idea of getting as much unity as 
possible, and I'd be surprised if this process wasn't funded in significant 
ways."

********************
Iraq prepares to deter attempts to topple Saddam Hussein
Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 5/21/99

Iraqi diplomatic sources in Amman have addressed hidden criticism to Jordan 
and other Arab states due to their stances which were considered by Iraq to 
be in line with the US policy which aims at toppling Iraqi President Saddam 
Hussein's regime. The Iraqi sources said that moves in the region "try to 
adapt with a sure strike against Iraq." Meanwhile, Iraqi parliamentary 
sources said that the Iraqi National Assembly (parliament ) will discuss 
next week the role played by the neighboring countries in lifting the 
sanctions and evaluation of these countries' policies towards Iraq. In this 
regard the speaker of the Iraqi parliament, Sadoun Hammadi, sent a message 
to the general secretariat of the Arab Parliamentarians Federation in which 
he condemned the stances adopted by Arab parliaments which did not carry out 
their "obligations" in backing Iraq.

In a step which was described as reflecting the concern of the Iraqi 
authorities over moves to topple Hussein's government, sources at the ruling 
Baath party said the party leadership studies a proposal to hold an early 
meeting for the "regional congress" (the highest party authority) due to be 
held by the end of July. The Iraqi sources noted that other views in Iraq 
are for delaying the conference until settling the nearby conflict with the 
US.

The " regional congress" is expected when convened to nominate Qusai, Saddam 
Hussein's second son, as the vice president of the state's council, which 
will be set up instead of the revolution's leadership council, a matter 
which will enabe Qusai to be the second man in Iraq.

Furthermore, Iraqi diplomatic sources in Amman disclosed the redeployment of 
the Iraqi armed forces on the border with Iran. The Iraqi diplomatic sources 
said that these Iraqi measures come in retaliation for the measure taken by 
Tehran to carry out military exercises at a time when "US threats are being 
escalated to topple the Iraqi leadership this year and under a Turkish 
invasion of the Iraqi territories."

The same sources added that the deployment of the Iraqi troops on the border 
come out of fear of "sneaking and penetration operations carried out by 
hireling and proxy forces," similar to those noted by a member of the 
regional leadership of the Iraqi Baath Party, Abdul Baqi al-Sadoun, who is 
responsible for the Baath Party organizations in Basra and al-Nasereyah in 
which he accused Iran of sponsoring acts of destruction carried out in Basra 
last March.

The same Iraqi sources refused to consider Iraq's hosting of "the national 
council of the Iranian resistance" in one of Mujahidin Khalq on the Iranian 
border as an aggressive act against Iran. The sources said Iraq is not 
entitled of what have been carried out by the Iranian resistance as from 
outside its territories." It stressed that Iraq does not permit the 
Mujahidin Khalq to strike Iran from their positions inside the Iraqi 
territories.

********************
U.N.: Iraq Stockpiles Medicines
By Leon Barkho, Associated Press Writer, Thursday, May 20, 1999; 11:51 a.m. 
EDT

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Some $300 million worth of medicines and health care 
equipment are languishing in Iraqi warehouses, partly because the staff lack 
the competence and motivation to distribute them, U.N. Secretary-General 
Kofi Annan reported Thursday. Iraq's 22 million people, particularly its 
nearly 4 million children, badly need the drugs, Annan said in a report 
released in Baghdad, the capital.

One out of every three children below the age of 5 is malnourished, owing to 
shortages caused by the sweeping U.N. trade sanctions imposed on Iraq after 
its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Annan added that Iraqis suffering from 
chronic diseases lack 30 percent to 60 percent of their drug requirements. 
Iraq has frequently blamed the sanctions for the deaths of children, and has 
pointed the finger at the United States and Britain as the strongest 
opponents of any easing of the embargo. Annan said the medicines and 
equipment in Iraqi warehouses amount to more than half of the value of the 
medical supplies that have arrived in Iraq since the start of an 
oil-for-food program in 1996. The program allows Baghdad to sell limited 
quantities of oil on condition that the proceeds are used to buy food, 
medicine and humanitarian goods for its people.

``The reasons for distribution bottlenecks are multiple and complex,'' Annan 
said. While his report stops short of blaming the government of President 
Saddam Hussein, Annan says a key reason for the stockpile is a ``decline in 
professional competence and motivation'' among Iraq's health personnel. He 
suggested the United Nations set up a program of ``human development and 
training for (Iraq's) health sector'' to accelerate the distribution. 
Further, the government body running the warehouses lacks proper handling 
equipment and transport to move the supplies, Annan said.

The United Nations is conducting intensive talks with the government in a 
bid to find a solution to the distribution bottlenecks, the report said. 
Annan submitted the report to the U.N. Security Council earlier this week. 
The United States and Britain say that Iraq must prove it has destroyed its 
long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction before the U.N. embargo 
can be lifted.

********************




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