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Important News Updates During this Week

Since an important Security Council resolution
regarding Iraq might be passed anyday, there'll be
regular news updates during the week. If you find an
interesting article related to this, please post it to
the mailing list. 

* Iraq urges UN to Renew Oil Program -- rejects
British-Dutch proposal

Monday December 6 6:41 PM ET 
Iraq Urges UN To Renew Oil Program
By LEON BARKHO Associated Press Writer 

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq asked the United Nations on
Monday for a six-month renewal of its oil-for-food
program, but reiterated that it will not accept a
draft British-Dutch resolution calling for the revival
of U.N. weapons inspections.

In a letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Deputy
Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said Iraq turned down
stopgap extensions of the U.N.-approved program
because they were impractical, the official Iraqi News
Agency reported.

Aziz ``expressed Iraq's readiness to deal with a full
extension of the oil program,'' the agency reported.

The U.N. Security Council voted to extend the program
for two weeks last month and for another week on
Friday, provoking protests by Iraq.

The oil-for-food program allows Iraq to sell limited
quantities of oil, in an exception to U.N. trade
sanctions, and to use the money to buy food, medicine
and other essential supplies. The program has
routinely been renewed for six months since its
inception in December 1996.

The latest renewals, supported by the United States,
were to spur council members to reach agreement on a
comprehensive package on Iraq.

Aziz urged Annan to include in the six-month extension
the improvements suggested by some council members. He
did not elaborate.

Under U.N. resolutions, sanctions imposed after Iraq's
1990 invasion of Kuwait are not to be lifted until
U.N. inspectors certify that Iraq is free of weapons
of mass destruction.

A draft British-Dutch resolution links a partial
suspension of sanctions to the resumption of
disarmament inspections.

It is expected to upgrade the oil-for-food program by
removing the financial ceiling of $5.2 billion and
allowing foreign companies to invest in the country's
battered oil industry.

Aziz made it clear to Annan that ``Iraq categorically
rejects the British resolution,'' the news agency

The deputy premier said the resolution ``imposes new
coercive conditions on Iraq which threaten its
sovereignty and national interests.''

Iraq has said that its weapons programs have ended and
that all sanctions should be ended. 

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