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Iraq news from the last week

*       Jordan returns archaeological treasures to Iraq (Arabia Online)
*       France calls for Turkish pull-out from Northern Iraq (Arabic News)
*       58th US bomb attack in Northern no-fly zone since 28/12/98
(Associated Press)
*       Iraq could be exporting over $5.2 billion in oil in current phase of
Oil-for-Food (Arabia Online)
*       Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme criticised (Associated Press)
*       Iraq amnesties illegal emigrants (Arabia Online)

Jordan Returns Archaeological Treasures to Iraq
Thursday, July 8, 1999, Arabia Online

BAGHDAD (AFP) -- Jordanian authorities have returned several archaeological
treasures which were either stolen from Iraq or smuggled out, the official
news agency INA said. Jordan's ambassador to Iraq, Hammud Al-Qatarena,
accompanied by Jordanian archaeologists, handed the pieces over to
Information Minister Humam Abdel Khaleq on Wednesday.

Iraq, which has a wealth of more than 10,000 archaeological sites, many of
them unexcavated, forbids the export of antiquities, works of deceased
artists, or precious items such as Persian carpets. Ten people were executed
in the northern city of Mosul in 1998 for chopping off the head of a winged
bull dating from the Assyrian period and trying to smuggle it abroad.

France calls for Turkish pullout from northern Iraq
Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 7/8/99

France has called for the withdrawal of Turkish forces from northern Iraq as
soon as possible. The spokeswoman for the French Foreign Ministry on
Wednesday reiterated her country's commitment to maintaining the sovereignty
and territorial integrity of Iraq, asserting the refusal of Paris to violate
these principles. The French statement said that tensions do not help the UN
Security Council's work to rebuild ties between Baghdad and the UN and to
put an end to the sufferings of the Iraqi people.

U.S. Bombs Iraqi Communications Site
Thursday, July 8, 1999; 10:26 a.m. EDT

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- U.S. warplanes bombed an Iraqi communications site in
the northern no-fly zone today after Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery fired on
allied patrols, a U.S. military statement said. Air Force F-16s and F-15s
dropped laser-guided bombs on a center used by Iraqi forces to process radar
information for anti-aircraft artillery, the U.S. European Command said in a
statement. The command is based in Stuttgart, Germany. The site was located
southeast of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, 250
miles north of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital. All planes left the area safely,
the statement said. The aircraft are based at Incirlik air base in southern

The no-fly zone in northern Iraq was set up after the 1991 Gulf War to
protect Kurdish rebels from the forces of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Another no-fly zone in the south protects the Shiite minority. Both zones
are patrolled by U.S. and British planes.  It was the 58th time that U.S.
planes attacked Iraqi facilities in the northern no-fly zone since Dec. 28,
when Iraqi forces began challenging the
planes. Baghdad says the zones violate Iraqi sovereignty and international

Iraq Seen Exporting Over $5.2 bln in Oil 
Tuesday, July 6, Arabia Online

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- A senior UN official said on Monday Iraqi oil exports
during the present phase of the six-month oil-for-food plan could exceed the
$5.2 billion limit if prices stayed at current strong levels. "Based on what
the price was last Friday, we will achieve higher revenues than the $5.26
billion ceiling," Benon Sevan, UN director of the oil-for-food program, told
reporters. Sevan said a UN Security Council resolution which in May extended
the oil deal for another six months had implicitly stated that the $5.26
billion ceiling could be raised. "There is implicit agreement within the
Security Council to consider positively to lift higher the ceiling from
$5.26 billion," he said at the end of three-week visit to Iraq.

But Sevan said that high oil production and lack of spare parts could damage
Iraq`s war-wrecked oil industry. Lack of spare parts could force Iraq`s oil
production to drop below what it was exporting. "It is essential for the
Security Council (sanctions) committee to precede expeditiously in approving
spare parts contracts as well as equipment for oil industry," Sevan said.

The oil pact allows Iraq to purchase $300 million in each of phases four,
five and six of the deal. Iraq said only $30 million worth of spare parts
had arrived in the country so far. Sevan said most of the oil spare parts
that had arrived in Iraq lacked complementary items. "Therefore, they are
useless sitting in stores." He said another serious problem facing Iraq`s
oil industry was lack of communications equipment. Iraqi oil exports were up
about 17 percent to 2.39 million barrels per day in weekly statistics
released by the United Nations last week.

Iraq Oil-for-Food Program Criticized
July 05, 1999; Monday, LEON BARKHO, BAGHDAD, Iraq 

Large amounts of food and medicine arriving in Iraq under a U.N.-sponsored
oil-for-food program are substandard, damaged or unusable, a top U.N.
official said Monday. Iraq is under an oil embargo and other economic
sanctions imposed after the country invaded Kuwait in 1990. The U.N. program
allows the nation to export $5.2 billion in oil every six months and use the
money to buy food and humanitarian goods. The program's executive director,
Benon Sevan, told reporters after a three-week tour of the country that many
of Baghdad's complaints about the deal were legitimate. Any changes in the
deal, though, would need approval from the U.N. Security Council.

Sevan said goods purchased under the program are frequently of low quality.
He said Iraqi officials have asked the council to withhold 20 percent of
payments from suppliers until Iraq receives goods that meet adequate
standards. But several council members say Iraq caused its own problem by
turning the program into a political game. They said Iraq grants contracts
to companies from friendly countries, regardless of the quality they offer.
Sevan said Iraq has realized its mistake and is now scrutinizing contracts
more carefully. 

Iraq Amnesties Illegal Emigrants 
Monday, July 5, 1999, Arabia Online

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- Iraq has granted an amnesty to people who left the
country illegally, a decree by the country's highest legislative authority,
The Revolutionary Command Council said. The decree, issued last week and
distributed to reporters on Sunday, said those already in jail for the
offence will be released. "Legal measures against Iraqis who left Iraq
illegally shall be stopped," the decree said. No official figures on illegal
emigration are available but the media have reported that UN economic
sanctions imposed for the 1990 invasion of Kuwait have forced many ordinary
Iraqis and intellectuals to leave the country and seek jobs elsewhere. Iraq
has already said it will amnesty all university professors who left
illegally, in an attempt to rectify a shortage of teaching staff.


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