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The following two articles appear in todays (26th August) Times. Letters should be e-mailed to email@example.com £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££ August 26 1999 MIDDLE EAST Iraq asks to reopen 'vaccine' laboratory IRAQ is urging the United Nations to combat rampant foot-and-mouth disease in the country by authorising the reopening of a "vaccine production" plant that was being covertly used to develop biological weapons. The laboratories at the Daura foot-and-mouth vaccine plant, south of Baghdad, were destroyed by the UN Special Commission on Iraq (Unscom) in 1996 after it was discovered that the Iraqis had converted the facility as part of their clandestine biological weapons programme. Now, under the guise of a humanitarian emergency, Iraq is trying to persuade UN officials in charge of the oil-for-food programme to allow the plant to be rebuilt. Iraq also insists that the facility was never used for biological weapons production, even though in July 1995 it admitted that Daura was not a purely civilian facility and had been taken over in 1990 by the country's Technical Research Centre for the biological weapons programme. As part of its formal declarations to Unscom in 1995, Iraq conceded that large-scale production of botulinum toxin took place at Daura, using equipment procured for a foot-and-mouth vaccine programme. Production of the vaccine was halted across Iraq in September 1992. According to intelligence reports, President Saddam Hussein is continuing with his secret biological weapons programme. He is reported to have given priority to the development of virulent bacteria resistant to antibiotics. One intelligence source said the Daura facility was viewed by Baghdad as vital for advancing this project. Iraq's campaign to get UN approval to repair the Daura facility began this year when it attributed the outbreak of foot- and-mouth disease to the international sanctions and Unscom's destruction of the vaccine plant. However, intelligence sources said there was no evidence that Iraq had taken steps to stamp out the epidemic by destroying infected cattle. Foot and mouth is an acute contagious disease affecting cloven-footed animals and is caused by a virus. The only way to control it is by slaughtering the diseased animals or by a vaccine programme. "There have been no moves to put the contaminated provinces in quarantiner," one source said. "Iraq's refusal to take steps to wipe out the foot-and-mouth epidemic is a deliberate move to try to persuade the UN to help in re-equipping the Daura facility." UN officials said that the request would have to be approved by the Security Council sanctions committee. £££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££ August 26 1999 MIDDLE EAST Ammunition dump hit AMERICAN aircraft bombed an Iraqi ammunition and fuel depot yesterday in response to attacks from the ground (Michael Evans writes). It was the first time since Operation Desert Fox last December that the US has attacked targets other than air defence and radar sites. The Pentagon denied there was a new airstrike policy. No RAF aircraft were involved and a British military official said there was no change in policy. Under the rules of engagement, US and British aircraft are authorised to attack Iraqi military targets that pose a direct threat to pilots mounting combat air patrols over northern and southern Iraq. British military sources said that ammunition dumps and fuel depots were directly linked to Iraq's attacks on coalition aircraft. -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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. Please do not sent emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***