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Iraq news

*       UN may let Iraq rebuild vaccine factory (Associated Press)
*       Iraq reiterates opposition to UN sanctions proposal (Associated
*       US continues strikes on northern Iraq (Arabic News)
*       UN team to rid Baghdad HQ of toxins left by weapons inspectors (CNN)

U.N. May Let Iraq Rebuild Factory 
By Leon Barkho, Associated Press Writer, Saturday, July 3, 1999; 3:36 p.m.

DAURA, Iraq (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council has agreed to send a team of
experts to assess whether a vaccine factory ordered destroyed by U.N.
weapons inspectors should be reconstructed, an official for the world body
said Saturday. Experts from Britain, Germany and France are scheduled to
arrive in Iraq on July 15 to inspect the factory in Daura, 12 miles east of
Baghdad, Amir Khalil of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said.

U.N. arms inspectors had the factory's equipment destroyed in 1996 after
concluding Iraq had used the facility for the production of biological
weapons. However, the loss of the factory's vaccine-making capability meant
the country was ill-prepared to handle an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease
last year. The sickness, also known as foot-and-mouth disease, has infected
at least 1 million farm animals, the Food and Agriculture Organization
reported. At least 400,000 animals have died for lack of the vaccine.

The head of Iraq's U.N. humanitarian program, Benon Sevan, toured the plant
with reporters Saturday and said he believed it should be rehabilitated.
Khalil said the factory was the first of its kind in the Middle East and
used to supply vaccines to almost every country in the region. An
undersecretary at the Agriculture Ministry, Basil Dalaly, said Iraq would
welcome an investigation by U.N. experts. 
Asked whether the factory had produced biological weapons, Dalaly said:
``Never. Never.'' 

Iraq Opposes UN Sanctions Proposal 
Friday, July 2, 1999; 11:45 p.m. EDT 

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraq warned the U.N. Security Council Friday it would
not accept a British-Dutch proposal for a conditional relaxation of
sanctions. The warning came a day after the U.S. deputy ambassador to the
United Nations, Peter Burleigh, told reporters in New York that Iraq's
opposition to the proposal was a negotiating stance and probably not its
final word.

Britain and the Netherlands have proposed a draft resolution that would lift
the oil embargo on Iraq provided that Baghdad clear up the outstanding
questions on its elimination of weapons of mass destruction. The embargo is
part of the comprehensive sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in
1990. Iraq reiterated its rejection of the draft Friday in a statement by
Abdul Ghani Abdul Ghafour, a top member of the ruling Baath Party, and in an
editorial published in the party newspaper Al-Thawra. 
``The proposal was stillborn,'' Ghafour told a party meeting in Baghdad, the
official Iraqi News Agency reported. ``Iraq rejects the evil British
proposal introduced in the Security Council and backed by America.''

Iraq believes it has cooperated fully with the special arms commission,
which the council set up in 1991, and so the world body is obliged to lift
sanctions. The council is deeply divided on how to develop a new policy.
France, Russia and China want to suspend all sanctions if Iraq cooperates
with a new disarmament commission. The United States, Britain and the
Netherlands, however, would suspend only the oil embargo if Iraq satisfies
key questions on disarmament and adheres to financial controls. 

US continues strikes on northern Iraq

Arabic News, Iraq, Military, 7/2/99
US jets flying as part of Operation Northern Watch, which patrols the
northern Iraqi no-fly zone, fired today on targets in northern Iraq,
southeast of Mosul. A statement from the US European Command said that after
being fired on by Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery, the US jets attacked an
Iraqi communications site that is "used to relay Iraqi radar information
from south of the 36th parallel to target ONW aircraft."

U.N. team to clean up toxins left in Iraq lab
July 1, 1999, Web posted at: 7:26 p.m. EDT (2326 GMT)

BAGHDAD, Iraq <iraq.baghdad.lg.jpg> (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan has chosen a team of five chemical experts who will travel to Iraq to
rid the U.N. headquarters there of toxins left by weapons inspectors who
evacuated the country last December. Prakash Shah, U.N. special envoy to
Iraq, said the team consists of experts from China, Russia, Germany, South
Africa and Poland. The team will be joined in Baghdad by three diplomatic
representatives from France, Russia and China. Shah said he will serve as
U.N. representative to the team and that the former Baghdad administrator of
the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) would travel to Iraq with the experts.
The expert from Poland will be the team physician, Shah told CNN.

Richard Butler, UNSCOM's departing chief, announced last month that weapons
inspectors had left behind 2.2 pounds of deadly mustard gas they found in
Iraq -- along with quantities of other chemicals used to calibrate equipment
-- in a laboratory at its headquarters there. UNSCOM had planned to destroy
the material. But the inspectors ran out of time when they were forced to
leave Iraq on the eve of U.S. and British airstrikes, launched after Butler
accused Iraq of failing to cooperate with his inspection team. 

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