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* UN Security Council attempts to narrow differences on Iraq (Agence France-Presse) * Iraq allocates $440 million for electricity (Arabia Online) * U.S. bombs Iraq communications site (Associated Press) * France aims to bridge rival British, Russian drafts on Iraq (Agence France-Presse) * Iraq exports 750 million dollars of oil in June (Agence France-Presse) * US can keep its computers, says Iraqi opposition leader (Agence France-Presse) * Revival of Iraqi opposition in Damascus (Arabic News) * Egyptian and Iraqi officials agree on trade deals (Associated Press) * Report: Turks kill 40 Kurds in Iraq (Associated Press) * Iraqi troops raze village (Associated Press) * Saddam Hussein accuses UN of waging germ warfare (Associated Press) * 40 Iraqi soldiers killed in clash with dissident Shi'a (Associated Press) ******************** UN Security Council attempts to narrow differences on Iraq Monday, 12-Jul-1999 3:40PM Story from AFP / Anne Penketh UNITED NATIONS, July 12 (AFP) - Britain on Monday appealed to China, France and Russia to work to reach a consensus on a British-sponsored draft resolution to end the deadlock on UN sanctions on Iraq, western diplomats said. British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock made the appeal during closed-door talks of the 15-member UN Security Council, which met in a new attempt to narrow differences on Iraqi disarmament and the timing of the possible suspension of nine-year old sanctions on Iraq. Diplomats said that without naming the three delegations, Greenstock warned that those who held back were preventing the council from reaching a consensus. The session was adjourned until Wednesday after Russian Ambassador Sergei Lavrov responded that the British text still needed to identify a "clear, direct trigger" for the lifting of nine-year old sanctions. Diplomats acknowledge that strong differences remain among the five council permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- on necessary conditions for suspending sanctions, which are linked to the elimination of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. "We will not have suspension without compliance by Iraq," a British diplomat said before Monday's session. "That's an absolute bottom line for us." But Greenstock noted Monday that the list of outstanding disarmament tasks would be "simplified," in a gesture towards the Russian delegation. France has also put forward draft proposals aimed at bridging the gap between the US and British position -- which insists on the completion of "key remaining tasks" of Iraqi disarmament before the sanctions are suspended -- and a Chinese and Russian text. China and Russia want sanctions lifted, arguing that the elimination of all Iraqi weapons of mass destruction cannot be certified following US and British air strikes on Iraq since last December. US diplomats met with French and Russian diplomats in Washington last week, in a bid to narrow the gap. Council diplomats said France is seen as the key to delivering Russia and China, which could veto the British text if it were put to a vote. The Council discussions focus on the disarmament issues but also on financial controls that would be in place following the sanctions' suspension, to ensure that Iraqi oil revenues are not spent on rearming. Britain says six council members are now co-sponsors of the British draft resolution: Argentine, Bahrain, Brazil, Gambia, the Netherlands and Slovenia. The United States also supports the draft, without being a co-sponsor, and the Canadian and Malaysian delegations are also engaged in talks on the British text. Council resolutions require nine positive votes, and no veto by a permanent member, to be adopted. ******************** Iraq Allocates $440 mln for Electricity Arabia Online, Monday July 12, 1999 BAGHDAD (AFP) -- Sanctions-hit Iraq has allocated $440 million for its battered electricity sector under the latest phase of the UN oil-for-food accord, Commerce Minister Mohammad Mehdi Saleh said Sunday. It is the second largest allocation of funds from the UN-authorized export of Iraqi crude, after food supplies which are set to account for $1.122 billion in imports. Apart from $300 million to import oil industry spare parts, $280 million is be spent on the water sector and $274 million on agriculture and irrigation, Saleh said. The minister, quoted by the official news agency INA, said $250 million would be pumped into Iraq`s health sector, $130 million for transport and communications, and $127 million for education. Due to the rise of world oil prices, the United Nations has said Iraq is likely to raise more than the ceiling of $5.2 billion fixed for its oil exports during the current phase of the oil-for-food deal. ******************** U.S. Bombs Iraq Communications Site Tuesday, July 13, 1999; 8:31 a.m. EDT ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- U.S. warplanes bombed an Iraqi communications site in the northern no-fly zone Tuesday after being fired on by Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery, a U.S. military statement said. Air Force F-16s and F-15s dropped laser-guided bombs on an intelligence and operations center used by Iraqi forces to process radar information and target allied planes, the U.S. European Command said in a statement. The command is based in Stuttgart, Germany. The Iraqi communications center is located southeast of the city of Mosul, some 250 miles north of Baghdad. All planes left the area safely, the military statement said. The northern no-fly zone is patrolled by U.S. and British planes operating out of Incirlik air base in southern Turkey. Tuesday was the 59th time that the U.S. planes attacked the Iraqi facilities in the northern no-fly zone in response to Iraqi threats. ******************** France aims to bridge rival British, Russian drafts on Iraq Monday, 12-Jul-1999 8:40AM Story from AFP BAGHDAD, July 12 (AFP) - France is trying to bridge the gap between rival British and Russian draft resolutions at the UN Security Council on sanctions against Iraq and its disarmament, a top French diplomat here said Monday. Andre Janier, head of France's interests section in Baghdad, said French and Iraqi officials were in daily contact in what he called a "positive and constructive" dialogue. The meetings are taking place in Baghdad, Paris and at the United Nations. "We can say there is progress on the path to a better understanding between the two sides" over France's set of ideas on future Iraqi-UN relations, he told AFP. Janier explained that France's aim was "to take acceptable elements from the two (Russian and British) drafts to draw up a draft resolution which is acceptable to all council members." The only way out of an impasse at the 15-member Security Council, he said, was "through dialogue between all the council members" to reach a consensus. Britain has proposed suspending the UN oil embargo against Baghdad for renewable periods of 120 days if it complies with disarmament requirements providing for the elimination of all Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. France presented its own proposal calling for all sanctions to be lifted for renewable periods of 100 days once a new weapons monitoring regime is in place in Iraq. And a Russian draft calls for a total and indefinite lifting of the sanctions once a monitoring system is restored. Iraq, under sanctions ever since its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, has ruled out the British proposal and protested it adds new conditions to lifting the embargo. ******************** Iraq exports 750 million dollars of oil in June Monday, 12-Jul-1999 11:20AM Story from AFP BAGHDAD, July 12 (AFP) - Iraq exported 54.8 million barrels of oil worth 750 million dollars in June, the State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) announced on Monday. Daily exports by the sanctions-hit state were 1.84 million barrels over the month, said SOMO director Saddam Zaban, quoted by the official INA news agency. Under the UN oil-for-food accord that aims to ease the effects of the nine-year-old sanctions, Iraq is allowed to export 5.2 billion dollars of oil every six months to pay for humanitarian supplies. Zaban said Iraq had concluded 76 oil contracts under the sixth six-month phase of the programme that began at the end of May. According to UN estimates, Iraq sold only 3.9 billion dollars of crude under the previous six-month period because of weak prices and the poor state of its oil infrastructure. INA said last month that Iraq had exported more than 1.5 billion barrels since the oil-for-food programme was launched at the end of 1996. Oil Minister Amer Rashid has said that Iraq will increase its production capacity to three million bpd by the end of the year and to 3.5 million bpd before the end of next year. Iraq says it needs 30 billion dollars in investment to develop its oil industry, half of which would go to develop new oil fields. ******************** US can keep its computers, says Iraqi opposition leader Monday, 12-Jul-1999 5:00AM Story from AFP DUBAI, July 12 (AFP) - An Iraqi Kurdish leader said US support for the opposition aiming to topple President Saddam Hussein has been restricted to computers and tables, in an interview published on Monday. US policy is "doomed to fail because it is not focused on the forces of changes inside Iraq," Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, told the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat. "The US administration wants to liberate us by giving us computers and tables," he said. "We can give them back if they need them." Talabani said the Baghdad government was "weak and isolated" and could be overthrown if opposition forces of Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites and tribes were able to join forces inside Iraq. But he was opposed to a military coup, as favoured by Washington, saying it would only bring about a "sterile" change. It was the second time in as many days that Washington's policy came in for criticism from Kurdish factions which control northern Iraq under a US security umbrella. Talabani's rival, Kurdistan Democratic Party leader Massud Barzani, told the same Arabic newspaper that US policy on Iraq would not lead to the downfall of Saddam. "The US plans will not produce any result and it's impossible to overthrow a regime in this way," he said. Washington has been withholding military aid until Iraq's fragmented opposition unites its rank. A "summit" of opposition groups planned for July at the latest has yet to take place. ******************** Revival of Iraqi opposition in Damascus Arabic News, Iraq, Politics, 7/12/99 Sources in the Iraqi opposition told the London-based al-Hayat daily in Damascus that representatives of the parties falling under "the committee in charge of national and democratic efforts in Iraq" have started a political initiative in the recent days, following "a stalemate" that lasted for two years. The sources said that they visited the representatives and headquarters of the other Iraqi opposition parties in Damascus and discussed with them means of "reactivating opposition media and political activities against President Saddam Hussein's rule." The coordination committee includes several parties, including the Baath Arab Socialist Party, the Arab Socialist Movement, the Socialist Party in Iraq, the Federation of Iraqi Democrats and the Iraqi Nasserite Movement. Opposition forces linked this new movement to regional developments pertaining to the stand towards the Iraqi government and the peace process. The official in charge of foreign relations at the coordination committee, Mahdi al-Obeidi told al-Hayat that such meetings are periodic and that they discussed "organizational, political and media matters." Opposition forces indicated that certain opposition parties which take Damascus as a headquarters have witnessed a "stalemate" in the two last years, following the Iraqi- Syrian rapprochement on May 17 following 17 years of boycott. They said there are other indicators for reviving opposition activities, including the call of the "coordination committee" of the Iraqi parties to celebrate the anniversary of the July 14 revolution in one of the Iraqi headquarters in Damascus. ******************** Egyptian, Iraqi Officials Meet Sunday, July 11, 1999; 7:42 p.m. EDT BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A weekend meeting between ministers from Egypt and Iraq ended with Egypt promising to increase its exports to the U.N.-sanctioned country, al-Qadissiya daily reported Sunday. Farouk Shalash, Egypt's deputy military industry minister, met in Baghdad on Saturday with Iraq's trade and agriculture ministers ``to discuss ways and means of improving relations between the two countries,'' the paper said. ``Egypt intends to increase its exports to Iraq under the oil-for-food deal,'' Shalash was quoted as saying. Relations between the countries have been strained since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which Egypt condemned. The United Nations placed economic sanctions on Iraq after the invasion, but allows it to sell a limited amount of oil to make money to import humanitarian goods. Iraq has said it prefers the food, medicine and humanitarian imports to come from Arab companies. Egypt and Iraq resumed partial trade ties in 1997 under the U.N. oil-for-food deal. ******************** Report: Turks Kill 40 Kurds in Iraq Saturday, July 10, 1999; 6:09 p.m. EDT ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Thousands of Turkish troops backed by helicopter gunships killed 40 Kurdish rebels during a weeklong offensive in northern Iraq, a news report said Saturday. Private NTV television said the troops withdrew early Saturday but gave few other details. No Turkish casualty figures were given. Military officials could not be reached for comment. Iraq has condemned the offensive, launched July 3, calling it a violation of its sovereignty. Troops went nine miles inside Iraqi territory, reports said. Turkey frequently crosses into neighboring Iraq, where rebels belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, maintain bases. The latest incursion was the first since a Turkish court sentenced Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan to death on June 29 for leading a war for autonomy. The conflict has killed some 37,000 people since 1984. Meanwhile, the rebels claimed to have killed 18 Turkish soldiers in an attack in southeastern Turkey, according to Kurdish news agency report Saturday. The rebels said they bombed a Turkish military outpost near the town of Yusekova, the Germany-based DEM news agency reported. The group said the attack was launched in retaliation for the death sentence issued to Ocalan and for ``the memory of all ... guerrillas killed'' in the 15-year old fighting, DEM said. The report did not say when the attack took place, and there was no military confirmation of the attack, which could not be independently verified. Ocalan's sentence will be appealed. If upheld, it still must be endorsed by parliament and the president. ******************** Iraqi Troops Raze Village Saturday, July 10, 1999; 3:21 p.m. EDT CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Iraqi troops have razed a village near the site of an insurgents' ambush in which more than 40 soldiers were killed, a major opposition group said Saturday. The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq said a unit of the elite Republican Guard had destroyed al-Masha village near the southern town of Rumaitha, 150 miles south of Baghdad, on Thursday. The guards also detained most of the villagers, imposed a curfew on Rumaitha and conducted house-to-house searches for suspects in the town, the council said in a fax to The Associated Press from its offices in Damascus, Syria. Earlier this week, the council said insurgents had attacked a squad of Iraqi troops and members of the ruling Baath Party as they approached Rumaitha on July 4. The forces had planned to hand over the bodies of four executed rebels and demolish their homes, the council reported. In their initial report, the council said more than 40 soldiers and party members were killed in the ambush. On Saturday the council raised the death toll to 56. Neither report could be independently verified. The Iraqi government usually does not comment on dissident allegations, though it has admitted there have been disturbances recently. The council gave no figure for the number of people detained in the post-ambush sweep on al-Masha and Rumaitha. Rumaitha is in the heart of Iraq's mainly Muslim Shiite south, a hotbed for opposition to the government. Tension in southern Iraq has been high since the Feb. 19 assassination of the Shiite leader, Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sader. Since his death, Iraqi opposition groups have reported clashes in several parts of the country, including the capital, Baghdad. ******************** Saddam: U.N. Waging Germ Warfare By Leon Barkho, Associated Press Writer, Friday, July 9, 1999; 9:53 a.m. EDT BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- President Saddam Hussein has accused the United Nations of mounting a secret germ war against Iraq, citing his government's accusation that a U.N. employee bred locust eggs to harm Iraqi crops. In remarks carried by three state-run newspapers today, Saddam also charged U.N. employees in Iraq of theft, mainly of archaeological treasures, for sale abroad. The United Nations did not immediately respond to the allegations, the harshest and most serious ever made by Iraq. It was even more unusual that the accusations came personally from the Iraqi leader who made no effort to mince his words. On Thursday, Ian Broughton, a New Zealander working on the United Nation's mine-clearing operations in northern Iraq, left the country after he was accused of breeding and planting eggs of locusts, insects that destroy crops. The United Nations withdrew Broughton after the government demanded his expulsion. The government produced no evidence against Broughton, and a U.N. statement said Thursday that Broughton was not even in the area on April 8 when he is alleged to have buried the eggs near the border town of Khanaqin in the northeast. Addressing high-ranking officials of the ruling Baath Party on Thursday, Saddam said Broughton was acting on behalf of intelligence services of foreign states. ``This action is not personal. It is the work of states and intelligence agencies belonging to them,'' he said without naming the countries. ``The aim of those burying locust eggs ... or transferring viruses and germs to Iraq is to harm public health and lower quantities of food available to Iraqis,'' Saddam was quoted as saying. He did not substantiate his allegation about the transfer of germs and viruses. ``The enemies were using the United Nations as a means to spread diseases among the people of Iraq ... There is a germ which is breeding (here) under the cover of the United Nations,'' he said. Saddam said most of the U.N. staff in Iraq, whether involved in disarmament activities or relief distribution, are spies and thieves. ``The Iraqi people are aware that the majority, but not all, of U.N. employees have been engaged in stealing Iraqi antiquities. They are seen spending the day in markets buying anything that will bring them a profit abroad,'' Saddam said. In the past such charges were only made against U.N. weapons inspectors who left Iraq last year shortly before the United States and Britain launched airstrikes to punish Iraq for allegedly failing to meet its disarmament obligations. Iraq has vowed not to let the inspectors set foot in the country again. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has admitted that spies recruited by the CIA had infiltrated the ranks of U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq. Since the inspectors left the country, the government has stepped up attacks on U.N. relief workers who supervise and administer the implementation of the oil-for-food deal in Iraq. The United Nations denies that any of its nearly 400 relief workers has ever been involved in spying. ******************** Dissidents: 40 Iraqis Dead in Clash Thursday, July 8, 1999; 10:15 a.m. EDT CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- More than Iraqi 40 soldiers and ruling party officials have been killed in clashes with dissident Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq, a major opposition party said today. The fighting occurred Sunday, when troops and members of President Saddam Hussein's Baath Party approached the town of Rumaitha, 150 miles south of Baghdad, the Damascus representative of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Bayan Jabr, said. The Iraqi forces intended to hand over the bodies of four insurgents who had recently been executed, demolish their homes, and confiscate their land to give to the families of the victims of their attacks, Jabr told The Associated Press. Members of the Albu Hassan clan ambushed the Iraqi troops from groves of palm trees, firing mortars, rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank weapons, Jabr said. Jabr said they killed the chief of the southern military intelligence, Lt. Gen. Nadhem al-Jubouri; the chief of Rumaitha's security, Lt. Colonel Mohsen al-Kutawi; 17 Baath Party members and more than 20 troops. After the battle, ``the tribesmen burned the earth-moving machines, bulldozers and other equipment left by the attackers,'' Jabr said. The Iraqi government would not comment on Jabr's remarks. Rumaitha is in the heart of Iraq's mainly Muslim Shiite south and is a hotbed for opposition to Saddam's Sunni Muslim government. Saddam's forces brutally crushed a Shiite uprising in southern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf war. Tensions in southern Iraq have been high since the Feb. 19 assassination of the Shiite leader, Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq al-Sader. Since his death, Iraqi opposition groups have reported clashes in several parts of the country, including the capital, Baghdad. The government has admitted disturbances, but it has blamed them on Iranian-based insurgents. In a separate development, the London-published Arabic newspaper, Azzaman, said Thursday that Iraqi authorities have arrested 73 security officials for subversion. It did not say when the arrests took place. ******************** -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. 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