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Iraq Rejects British Sanctions Plan

Iraq Rejects British Sanctions Plan

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq will not accept a British proposal for a
conditional suspension of U.N. sanctions because it does not provide for
their ``immediate lifting,'' a senior official of the ruling Baath Party
said in remarks published today.

``The circulation by both Britain and America of vicious plans at the (U.N.)
Security Council is meant to prolong the unfair embargo on Iraq,''
Abdulghani Abdulghafur told a delegation of Russian legislators in Baghdad.

Britain and the Netherlands have proposed that the sanctions be suspended
once Iraq has answered the outstanding questions about its weapons of mass
destruction. The proposal would also require Baghdad to adhere to strict
financial controls to prevent its re-acquisition of such weapons. 

The sanctions were imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. 

``Iraq will accept nothing short of an immediate lifting of the
sanctions,'' the official Iraqi News Agency quoted Abdulghafur as saying. 

Abdulghafur said any plan to break the stalemate in U.N.-Iraqi relations
had to specify that Baghdad ``reserves the right to demand compensation''
for the damage inflicted in the U.S. and British airstrikes on Iraq in

A member of the Iraqi regional command of the Baath Party, Abdulghafur is
the most senior Iraqi official to respond to the British-Dutch initiative,
which was first circulated on Tuesday. 

The U.N. Security Council has been seeking a formula to restore working
relations with Baghdad since its weapons inspectors were withdrawn from
Iraq on the eve of the airstrikes. Iraq has refused to allow the
inspectors to return. 

Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh, who is below Abdulghafur in the
governing hierarchy, was quoted Thursday as saying that Baghdad would
consider the plan, but was skeptical of British intentions. 

The five permanent members of the Security Council are divided on how to
design a new policy on Iraq. Russia, China and France favor suspending
sanctions on condition that Iraq cooperate with a new weapons monitoring

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