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News for the the period 6 December to 12 December, 1999 * US/UK aerial bombings on at least 3 separate days. Possible civillian casualties. * UN Security Council renews Oil-for-Food for 6 months. * Security Council will vote on "British-Dutch" / "Consensus" resolution on Monday. * Iraq has cancelled Papal visit -- says that embargo and aerial attacks make trip impossible to organise. * Iraq to resume oil exports. * Oil price seesaws, remains high, but moved downwards on Friday. * 4000 families evicted from Baghdad. Interior minister cites pressured infrastructure as motive. Sources: Reuters, Associated Press, www.arabicnews.com --------------------------------------------------- Sunday December 12 7:13 PM ET Iraq Claims Airstrikes Killed Kids BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Allied warplanes bombed a residential area in northern Iraq on Sunday, killing two children and injuring six people, the official Iraqi News Agency reported. Maj. Andy White, a U.S. spokesman at the base in Turkey where planes patrolling Iraq are stationed, confirmed that American planes returned fire after being fired on by Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery. But White said he had ``nothing to support claims of damage or injury to civilians.'' The Iraqi report quoted an unidentified spokesman for the Iraqi army. It said there were 14 sorties over the northern provinces of Dohuk, Irbil and Mosul. It did not specify precisely what was hit or where the missiles landed. ``The American-British killers have committed another crime against Iraqi civilians when their warplanes bombed residential areas and civil installations causing the death of two children and the injury of six (people), including a woman and five children,'' the agency quoted the army spokesman as saying. The U.S. European Command, based in Germany, said coalition aircraft responded to the anti-aircraft artillery by striking air-defense targets. It said all coalition aircraft left the area safely. Allied warplanes have been patrolling over northern and southern Iraq since after the 1991 Gulf War. So-called ``no-fly'' zones were set up to protect Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south from the Iraqi military. Iraq has been challenging the patrols all year. The United States maintains that it fires only on military targets and only when threatened. ---------------------------------------------------- Saturday December 11 10:29 AM ET Split U.N. Council Readies New Policy Toward Iraq By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council prepared to take a critical vote that could lead to a suspension of sanctions against Iraq after a six-month extension of the ''oil-for-food'' humanitarian program in Baghdad was approved. British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, the current council president, said he had scheduled a Monday vote on a resolution that would set up a new arms control commission aimed at returning weapons inspectors to Baghdad after a year's hiatus. If Iraq cooperates with a new arms commission, the sanctions could be suspended in a complicated and controversial process expected to take at least a year. The decision to consider the comprehensive resolution, under negotiation for eight months, came after all 15 council members voted Friday for a 180-day extension to the oil-for-food program. This move allows Iraq to sell $5.26 billion in oil over six months to buy food, medicine and other vital goods for its people. Iraq stopped exporting oil on Nov. 24 after the council narrowly approved stopgap resolutions extending the oil deal for two weeks and then for one week. Baghdad said it would resume oil sales -- probably on Dec. 15 or 16 -- if the program was renewed for six months. The United States last month insisted on the short extensions to pressure council members into adopting the broader, comprehensive resolution that would make some of the oil-for-food provisions obsolete. Deliberate Ambiguity Passage of the resolution Monday is not certain despite compromises on all sides. Some key areas, such as precisely what would trigger the suspension, are left purposely ambiguous in an effort to get support from all 15 council members. But diplomats are unsure how Russia, China and France -- more sympathetic to Iraq -- will vote. Moscow and Beijing are not expected to support the resolution but might abstain rather than use their veto power to kill it. France is expected to vote in favor or abstain, diplomats said. Greenstock was optimistic. ``I am confident that this is a good text, which should get support from a maximum number of members of the council and will be carried,'' he said Friday. The sanctions were imposed on Iraq after President Saddam Hussein's government invaded Kuwait in August 1990, leading to the 1991 Gulf War. After the war, any lifting of the sanctions was linked to the scrapping of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, a procedure that has taken nearly 10 years. Arms inspectors left Iraq a year ago, shortly before U.S.-British bombing raids against Baghdad for its alleged failure to cooperate with the U.N. disarmament commission. Friday, Russia proposed amendments, supported by China and Malaysia, to the full council that would have required Iraq to cooperate, but not fully cooperate, with the inspectors, diplomats said. The aim was to prevent the United States and Britain from imposing arms requirements that Iraq could not meet and thus keeping the sanctions in place indefinitely. Russia also wanted the sanctions to be suspended by next December regardless of Iraq's cooperation, a proposal Greenstock said would allow Iraq to ``sit and wait.'' Moscow's Ambassador Sergei Lavrov said the resolution was too ambiguous. ``We don't think it is clear-cut, and we believe it is not as it should be,'' he told reporters. U.S. representative Peter Burleigh said he anticipated talks throughout the weekend on the resolution among Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine. France, which had earlier approved the text, said the resolution would have little impact if all council members did not support it. Its Ambassador Alain Dejammet said it was necessary to have clarity in the resolution and make sure Russia was supporting the document or Iraq would never cooperate. Iraq has lobbied vigorously against the resolution, threatening France with a break in diplomatic and economic ties and attempting to persuade Moscow to use its veto. Baghdad wants nothing less than a clear path to the lifting of the sanctions, which have ruined its economy. ---------------------------------------------- Friday December 10, 5:48 pm Eastern Time Iraq news sends oil prices, shares spiralling down By Timna Tanners LOS ANGELES, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Oil prices sank nearly $1 a barrel on Friday on news that the U.N. Security Council agreed to renew the humanitarian ``oil-for-food'' deal with Iraq another six months. The looming resumption of Iraqi crude exports helped send the January New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) crude contract falling 92 cents to $25.23 a barrel. It dipped as low as $1.55 a barrel after the U.N. vote. Energy company shares followed suit, diving in general on the long-awaited U.N. news. ``Oil prices have pressured shares for the past several days. Iraq is closer to returning to the market,'' said PaineWebber analyst Frank Kneuttel. ``It was another day when the ''dot-coms`` took money away from oil stocks,'' he added, referring to the popularity of internet stocks. Oil shares sank despite overall strength on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which closed up 0.81 percent, or nearly 90 points, at 11,224. The U.N. voted to allow Iraq to resume exports after a break since November 24, when Baghdad stopped deliveries because of a U.N. dispute over a new resolution on sanctions. Oil traders have estimated Iraq's approximate 2.3 million barrels a day of exports would begin again in a week. The news followed bearish remarks the previous day from U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who said oil prices were drifting dangerously higher. Independent U.S. oil companies decried Richardson's comments. The largest publicly traded oil company, Exxon Mobil Corp., led losers with a 3-5/16 loss to close at 82-13/16 on the New York Stock Exchange. Texaco Inc. also saw shares tumble, down 2-1/16 to 54-7/16 each. Large integrated oil companies shares weakened, as measured by the Standard & Poor's Oil International Index , which fell 1.45 percent to 51.88 points. Oil drilling and services companies lost ground, reflecting recent problems. Halliburton Co. fell 1-3/16 to 34-15/16 while competitor Schlumbeger Ltd. dipped 2 to 56-1/8. Among independent oil and gas producers, Apache Corp. fell 3/16 to 32 each. edged down 3/16 to 32-3/16. The company said it expected to spend $600 million to $650 million on exploration and development in 2000. Major oil refiners also saw shares slip, with Tosco Corp. down 1-4/16 to 25-15/16 and Sunoco Inc. down 13/16 to 23-9/16. -------------------------------------------- Sunday December 12 7:56 AM ET Official: Iraq To Resume Pumping Oil By WAIEL FALEH Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq will resume pumping oil for export this week after a three-week stoppage, an Oil Ministry official said Sunday. The announcement came after the U.N. Security Council voted Friday to extend its oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq to sell $5.26 billion in oil over six months to buy humanitarian goods. Iraq had suspended pumping after the council initially failed to give a full six-month renewal when the program's last phase expired on Nov. 24. The council instead had extended it by two weeks and then by one week. The three-year-old program is meant to ease the suffering on Iraq caused by the U.N. economic sanctions imposed in 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait. The Oil Ministry official told The Associated Press that its two oil terminals in the north and the south would resume operations either on Wednesday or Thursday. The extension of the program was held up while the Security Council debated a comprehensive policy on Iraq, which has been under negotiations for the last eight months. On Saturday, the council decided to put to vote a final British-drafted resolution offering Iraq the possibility of suspending the sanctions. In return, Iraq would have to allow the resumption of weapons inspections. A U.N. certification that Iraq no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction was the original condition for the lifting of the sanctions. But U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq Dec. 16, 1998, just before the United States and Britain launched airstrikes to punish Baghdad for failing to cooperate with their efforts. --------------------------------------------- UN extends oil-for-food, US ups pressure on Iraq Iraq, Economics, 12/11/99 (www.arabicnews.com) The United Nations Security Council yesterday voted unanimously to extend the oil-for-food program with Iraq for another six months in resolution 1281. The full extension comes following two-week and one-week extensions of the program, both of which Iraq rejected, after the expiration of the most recent six-month term. Under the terms agreed on yesterday, Iraq will be able to produce up to $5.26 billion in oil and oil products for a 180-day period and sell the goods to fund the purchase of humanitarian supplies for Iraq's citizens. The resolution calls for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to report to the council 90 days after the start of the new term and prior to it's end on Iraq's distribution of supplies to civilians, the program's ability to meet humanitarian needs, and on Iraq's ability to produce sufficient quantities of petroleum to reach the limit set by the program. The US has raised new accusations that Iraq is allowing oil to be smuggled in violation of UN sanctions. US State Department deputy spokesman James Foley said yesterday, "Recently declassified satellite photography.... reveals that Iraq continues to smuggle oil in violation of UN sanctions." He said a November 26 photo showed Iraqi tankers in the Shatt al-Arab "in the process of loading gasoil at a facility associated with the Basra refinery in southern Iraq" which he said is not allowed under UN sanctions. "The gasoil being loaded onto tankers in this photograph is being smuggled illicitly outside the Oil-For-Food Program to supply revenue that is totally under the regime's control," Foley added. These accusations come as the US is working in the UN Security Council for the approval of a resolution that will conditionally suspend economic sanctions on Iraq in return for the return of UN weapons inspectors to the country. ------------------------------------------ Friday December 10, 2:47 pm Eastern Time US alleges Iraq smuggled record amount gasoil Nov. WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Iraq illegally sold 70,000 barrels of gasoil a day during November, the most since sanctions were imposed against the country following the Gulf War, a U.S. State Department spokesman alleged Friday. Iraq earned $21 million from the illegal gasoil sales, as they were not under the control of the United Nations-run oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq to use oil export revenue to buy food, food medicine and other goods, the spokesman also alleged. ``It demonstrates yet again that Saddam Hussein puts the interest of his regime ahead of those of the people of Iraq,'' spokesman James Foley told reporters at the State Department's daily briefing. Gasoil is refined crude oil that is heavier than kerosene and is often used as diesel fuel. Foley said the illegal sales occurred while Iraq suspended its legal oil export sales in protest of the U.N. Security Council's refusal to extend Iraq's oil-for-food program for six months. Earlier Friday, the Security Council approved an extension of the aid program until June 8, 2000. (-Tom Doggett, Washington Energy Desk, 202-898-8320) ---------------------------------------------- Friday December 10 7:14 AM ET Baghdad Rules Out Papal Visit VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican said on Friday it had been told by Iraq that a visit by Pope John Paul to the country would not be possible. The Vatican said Iraq had told it that a United Nations embargo on Iraq and a no-fly zone over part of the country would make it impossible for the Pope to visit the southern city of Ur, birthplace of the Biblical patriarch Abraham. ``Iraqi authorities have informed the (Vatican) Secretariat of State that the abnormal conditions in which Iraq finds itself due to the embargo and the no-fly zone, as well as the general situation in the region, do not permit a visit by the Holy Father to Ur to be organized properly,'' chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a statement. A visit to Ur was the main purpose of the Pope's projected trip to Iraq and was one of the Old and New Testament sites he wants to pray at during 2000. The trip to Iraq, which would have included a meeting between the 79-year-old Pope and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, had originally been slated for early December. A Vatican team of officials flew to Iraq last month for further consultations and had intimated the trip could be possible for early in January. ----------------------------------------------- Thursday December 9, 5:23 am Eastern Time Iraq to pump Sat if UN votes Fri for 6-month deal BAGHDAD, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Iraq will resume pumping of oil on Saturday if the U.N. Security Council agrees on Friday a straightforward six-month rollover of the United Nations' oil- for-food programme, an Iraqi Oil Ministry source said on Thursday. ``The Iraqi Oil Ministry is readying itself to resume pumping of crude oil for export purposes on Saturday if the United Nations renews the programme for another six months,'' the source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. The source did not say whether Iraq would resume its oil pumping to the Turkish port of Ceyhan in the Mediterranean or to the Iraqi southern Mina-al-Bakr oil terminal, both used to export oil under previous oil-for-food deals with the U.N. The U.N. Security Council is expected to renew the oil pact for six months before the current extension expires late on Saturday, the United States and Britain said on Wednesday. Iraq's U.N. envoy Saeed Hasan said on Wednesday that his country would accept a straightforward six-month renewal of the oil programme. Iraq suspended oil exports three weeks ago in protest of the Security Council's short extensions of the programme rather than the usual six-month renewal, a move Baghdad said was forced by the U.S. in order to put pressure on parallel negotiations for a resolution on broader Iraq policy. ((Hassan Hafidh, Baghdad newsroom) ------------------------------------------- Wednesday December 8 3:25 PM ET Iraq Evicts Thousands From Baghdad By LEON BARKHO Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Authorities have evicted from Baghdad more than 4,000 families who migrated to the capital after fleeing their southern towns during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the Interior Ministry said in a statement published Wednesday. Thousands more are expected to be forced to leave the city, the statement said. It gave no figures and did not give a timeframe. The migrant families had moved to the capital illegally and their presence ``has had an obvious impact on Baghdad's economic and social situation,'' a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying in the statement published in the state-run weekly, Al-Ilam. The statement did not say when the deportations started nor how many people 4,000 families constituted. It said eight committees, made up of officials from the security forces and the ruling Baath party, have been set up to survey Baghdad's nearly 5.4 million people to see who is eligible to stay. Under a 1994 law, only those people who came to Baghdad before 1991 have the right to stay. A round of deportations was held in 1995 but authorities say thousands of families sneaked back. Public utilities in Baghdad are relatively better than in other parts of the country - particularly the battered provinces in the south, which bore the brunt of Iraq's 1980-1988 war with Iran and the 1991 Persian Gulf War against a U.S.-led coalition that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. While Baghdad suffers power outages of just four hours a day, the blackouts may last up to 20 hours in the provinces. U.N. trade sanctions, imposed for Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, have crippled the country's infrastructure. Many opt for residence in the capital because of lack of security in their areas particularly in the south, where the United States and Britain police a no-fly zone ostensibly to protect the country's Shiite minority from attacks by Iraqi armed force. ---------------------------------------------------- Wednesday December 8 1:34 AM ET Saddam's Weapons Program Questioned By TOM RAUM Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - Almost a year has passed since Operation Desert Fox and more than a year since U.N. weapons inspectors left Iraq. As the United Nations struggles to frame a new policy toward Baghdad, many in the West fear Saddam Hussein has used the pause to rebuild his weapons program. Defense Secretary William Cohen is among those with such fears. ``I think they are determined to rebuild their military,'' Cohen told reporters Tuesday. It's even possible that Saddam has been acquiring weapons-grade nuclear materials, Cohen allowed. ``I'm saying we don't know,'' Cohen said. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is trying to pressure the Clinton administration to do more to carry out the spirit of the year-old Iraq Liberation Act, which earmarked $97 million in U.S. assistance to Iraqi opposition groups seeking to overthrow Saddam. To date, only a fraction of that amount has been spent - mostly for office equipment and training classes in Florida on democracy. The administration contends the $97 million does not cover arms but only indirect assistance and ``nonlethal'' training. But slipped into the huge government operations spending bill that President Clinton signed last month was another $10 million - this time in direct money - to ``support efforts to bring about political transition in Iraq.'' Of this, $2 million was designated for efforts to prosecute Saddam and his lieutenants for war crimes. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian affairs, said the $10 million appropriation was intended to force the administration to support anti-Saddam activities inside Iraq instead of buying ``file cabinets and fax machines.'' ``The administration is doing a very slow roll on this. I think they're generally figuring this one is going to go to the next president,'' said Brownback. The notion that Saddam's reign may outlast yet another U.S. president has already become an issue on the presidential campaign trail. In last week's Republican debate in Manchester, N.H., front-running candidate George W. Bush appeared at first to suggest that he would ``take out'' Saddam, perhaps finishing the job his father began when the military coalition he organized drove Iraqi forces from Kuwait. ``If I found in any way, shape or form that he was developing weapons of mass destruction, I'd take 'em out. I'm surprised he's still there,'' Bush said. But asked to elaborate on what he would ``take out,'' Bush said, ``weapons of mass destruction.'' Official U.S. policy, dating from a 1976 executive order signed by President Ford, makes assassination of a foreign leader illegal. Nevertheless, both Presidents Bush and Clinton signed orders authorizing covert activities to topple Saddam, according to congressional and intelligence sources, but none came to fruition. U.N. arms inspectors left Iraq in November 1998 after the chief inspector, Richard Butler, said Iraq had failed to cooperate with efforts to seek out weapons banned under the agreement that ended the Gulf War. Operation Desert Fox, four days of U.S. and British airstrikes against targets in Iraq, followed in mid-December. After the campaign ended, Iraq said the commission's job in Iraq ``is over'' and ruled out its return so long as Butler headed it. Iraqi leaders recently said they would allow inspectors back, but only after sanctions in place since August 1990 are abolished. The U.N. Security Council is struggling now to forge a new comprehensive policy on Iraq that would allow the inspectors to return, but its members remain divided. It agreed to a series of short extensions of the oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq to bypass sanctions and sell oil to buy food and humanitarian goods. The most recent extension expires Saturday. Iraq opposes the short-term extensions as ``political mockery.'' Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., a sponsor of the Iraq Liberation Act, told a gathering in New York of the Iraqi National Congress, the leading opposition group, that the United States is spending $2 billion a year to contain Saddam. ``It simply isn't working, and it is unsatisfying to the American people,'' he said. Still, administration officials note that opposition groups are fragmented, many feuding among themselves. State Department spokesman James Foley suggested this week that U.S. intelligence agencies aren't totally in the dark as to recent developments in Iraq regarding weapons of mass destruction. ``We maintain robust national capabilities to monitor as best we can what Saddam Hussein may be up to in this area,'' Foley said. Still, he said, ``It remains our view that having inspectors on the ground is the best insurance ------------------------------------------------- Tuesday December 7 10:17 PM ET Council Schedules Iraq Consultations By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Writer UNITED NATIONS (AP) - For the first time in weeks, the full Security Council is being brought into talks on a plan to return weapons inspectors to Iraq - with the United States pressing for action by the end of the week. But Russia, an Iraqi ally on the powerful council, is insisting it needs more time for negotiations - and demanding a resolution that offers Iraq a clear path to have 9-year-old sanctions lifted. ``There is still room for compromise - we can work on monitoring regime and on timeframe for lifting the sanctions,'' the Foreign Ministry chief spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin said Tuesday in Moscow. U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering was in New York on Tuesday to meet with Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov to try to reach a compromise over the resolution, which has the support of most of the council, a U.S. official said. Russian backing for the resolution is key since it could veto the measure, leaving the council with little to show for nearly a year of negotiations that began after weapons inspections in Iraq collapsed last December. British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, the current council president, said he wouldn't rule out any area of discussion during Wednesday's scheduled closed door consultations, which would mark the first time in weeks that the full 15 members have met on the subject. The permanent five members of the council - Britain, the United States, Russia, France and China - have been meeting privately at the U.S. mission for weeks to try to narrow the differences on the resolution. Russia and China favor the suspension of sanctions, which were imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, soon after Iraq allows inspectors to return and demonstrates it is cooperating with them. But the United States and Britain want a longer waiting period and Iraqi answers to outstanding questions about its disarmament. ``It's up to council members to talk about the comprehensive approach on Iraq as they wish,'' Greenstock said. ``But I made it clear that we need to take action before the weekend.'' The United States and Britain want the council to vote on the resolution before Saturday, when the current phase of the U.N. humanitarian program in Iraq expires. The program lets Iraq sell limited amounts of oil to buy food, medicine and oil industry spare parts for its ailing oil sector. A vote on the overall new policy resolution would enable the council to extend the U.N. program for six months and incorporate a host of enhancements included in the overall policy resolution, such as removing the dlrs 5.2 billion limit in the amount of oil Iraq can export over six months. Diplomats said Tuesday the United States would support a six-month extension of the program even if the council doesn't agree on the overall resolution. ----------------------------- Tuesday December 7, 8:28 pm Eastern Time When is a British draft not a British draft? UNITED NATIONS, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Iraq says key Security Council members are working on a ``British'' draft resolution that might eventually restart arms inspections and suspend sanctions against Baghdad. Not so, say France, Russia and even Britain itself, contending that the original British-Dutch draft of last April had been changed appreciably in style and content and included elements from separate French and Russia drafts. A reading of both versions shows some of the main points of the April resolution are included. But many paragraphs are rewritten and lengthened, often to paper over differences and include opposing views. ``It is no longer a British paper,'' France's U.N. ambassador Alain Dejammet said bluntly. In Moscow, foreign ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin also rejected the label. And British officials stop journalists in mid-sentence if the term is used. Some Western envoys believe Iraq insists on using that name to alienate Russia, China and France, whose support is still not certain after protracted negotiations among the five permanent Security Council members -- the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China. The United States, however, apparently believes Baghdad has a point. State Department spokesman James Rubin two weeks ago said Washington was working closely with ``the British and the Dutch on their draft resolution.'' -------------------------------- Tuesday December 7, 8:45 am Eastern Time Iraq's Aziz says UN may not offer six-month extension By Hassan Hafidh BAGHDAD, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on Tuesday reiterated that Baghdad would accept a straightforward six-month extension of the United Nations oil-for-food exchange. But he warned that such a deal might not be on offer from the U.N. Security Council. ``I have told the (U.N.) Secretary-General Kofi Annan that we will accept an extension (of the oil programme) of six months as it was the case before,'' Aziz told a conference of a non- alignment students and youth organisation held in Baghdad. ``But it is possible that such (six-month) extension could not happen,'' Aziz said. Aziz informed Annan in a letter he sent on Monday that his country would accept an extension of six months of the oil pact. He also informed him on Iraq's rejection of the terms of a U.N. comprehensive draft resolution on his country. Iraq on Saturday rejected the U.N. Security Council's one- week extension of the oil-for-food programme as it did on November 19 when the deal was extended for two weeks. Since November 22 Iraq halted its oil exports to protest against the short time extension. The oil programme has always worked in phases of six months. Aziz described next Friday as a ``decisive day'' for the oil- for-food deal which usually allows Iraq to sell $5.26 billion of oil over six months to buy food, medicine and other goods. On Friday the one-week stop-gap measure which was narrowly approved by the Security Council would expire. Aziz also reiterated his country's rejection of a U.N. Security Council's draft resolution that could lead to the suspension of sanctions on civilian goods if Iraq complied for a test period with a new disarmament regime. Washington and London, both permanent Security Council members, hoped that the one-week stop-gap would pressure countries such as France and Russia to approve the broader resolution on Iraq. ``We reject this trickery and false draft resolution,'' he said. ``It would subject Iraq to an imperialist mandate and convert it to a protectorate,'' he added. Both Russia and China, which are also permanent members of the Security Council, have reservations about the proposed resolution and want sanctions on Iraq eased. ``We have asked our friends in the Security Council to prevent such draft resolution from being issued,'' he said. Aziz was in Moscow last week where he had asked the Russians to help Iraq to prevent adoption of the resolution. --------------------------------------- Tuesday December 7 8:20 AM ET U.S. Planes Attack S. Iraq Targets By LEON BARKHO Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi anti-aircraft gunners fired at U.S. and British warplanes as they attacked targets in southern Iraq, state-run newspapers reported Tuesday. The papers, quoting a military statement, said the planes entered Iraqi airspace in 20 waves Monday morning and carried out ``22 military sorties'' over the provinces of Basra, Dhiqar, Missan, Najaf, Qadissiya, Muthana and Karbala, all in southern Iraq. The United States, which along with Britain polices two no-fly zones over Iraq, said just six planes attacked military installations Monday, and that it was in retaliation for anti-aircraft fire from a military radar site in southern Iraq. The U.S. Central Command based in Florida said in a statement that four U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets and two F-14 Tomcats took part in the attack, then returned safely to the USS John F. Kennedy in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. statement said damage from the bombing had yet to be assessed. The Iraqi papers accused the U.S. planes of attacking ``our civil and service installations.'' They reported that Iraqi anti-aircraft gunners fired back, forcing the attacking planes to flee ``to their hideouts of evil and blasphemy in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.'' U.S. and British planes have been patrolling no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, saying they are protecting Kurds and Shiites there from attacks by Iraqi armed forces. The allies say they target only military installations when they are fired upon and strive to limit civilian casualties or damage. Iraq says the zones are a violation of international law and has frequently challenged the allied planes. ----------------------------- Monday December 6, 4:05 pm Eastern Time NYMEX crude ends sharply up, Iraq prolongs hiatus NEW YORK, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) finished sharply higher Monday as Iraq's standoff with the U.N. on oil exports was seen adding pressure to already dwindling stocks right before winter, traders said. NYMEX January crude settled at $26.66 a barrel, up a hefty 85 cents. Near the close, it leaped higher to post a late session peak of $26.72, up 91 cents on the day. The contract traded as low as $26.05 in the morning. Traders and analysts said the front month contract is again within a short distance of $27 and its November 23 peak of $27.15. Providing the booster for the day's trade was Iraq's swift rejection of a second, short-term extension by the U.N. Security Council of the oil-for-food deal with Iraq. Late Friday, the U.N. Security Council narrowly approved a one-week extension of the program, to December 11, but Iraq's oil minister rejected it. Iraq had halted its exports of crude oil two weeks ago, after the U.N. initially extended the oil-for-food deal for two weeks. Iraq was exporting about 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) before it stopped shipments. Iraqi officials have repeatedly said they would reject another short-term extension because it is not feasible to ship oil over such a short period of time and that only a six-month rollover was acceptable. ``Prices are only marginally above their level from before Iraq's rejection of the initial oil sale extension offer, so we doubt that this event has been fully discounted yet,'' said Tim Evans, senior analyst at Thomson Global Markets. Near the close, Mexican Energy Minister Luis Tellez said he did not see the risk of an oil price spike, despite recent highs. He also ruled out any increase in output before the current producers agreement expires on March 31, 2000. Meanwhile, heating oil and gasoline futures ended with large gains, which they began to accumulate early after crude's big opening gains. Gasoline futures were more active than heating oil. Front month gasoline posted a late session high of 72.60 cents a gallon, extending gains to 2.35 cents, before settling at 72.54 cents, up 2.29 cents. The contract had moved as low as 71.00 cents. Front month heating oil settled at 67.23 cents a gallon, advancing 1.23 cents, after hitting a late session high of 67.35 cents. It dipped earlier in the day to a session low of 66.50 cents. In London, January Brent crude on the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE), soared further and last traded at $25.75 a barrel, hitting, up 80 cents, just shy of the intraday hihgh of $25.80. Traders said oil markets on both sides of the Altantic were also bullish over a statement by the Saudi Oil Minister, Ali al-Naimi, over the weekend. The Saudi official said market conditions were excellent and he saw no reason to make changes to aproducers' output cut agreement, which is expiring at the end of March 2000. There were also indications since late last week that oil producers had stuck to the curbs more scrupulously in November. A survey by Geneva consultants Petrologistics showed that 10 OPEC members participating in the agreement produced 23.35 million barrels per day (bpd) in November, compared to 23.62 million bpd in October. That put the OPEC-10's output compliance to 91 percent of the target cuts, compared to 85 percent in October. On Tuesday, attention shifts once again to weekly inventory report from the American Petroleum Institute (API), which usually provides the market with short-term price direction. ----------------------------------- Monday December 6 11:26 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 routinely has been renewed every 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 new comprehensive policy toward Iraq. 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 told Annan that ``Iraq categorically rejects the British resolution,'' because it ``imposes new coercive conditions on Iraq which threaten its sovereignty and national interests,'' the news agency said. Iraq has said its weapons programs had ended and that all sanctions should be ended. The U.N. Security Council resumed talks Monday to hear whether Russia would support a U.S.-backed resolution. Russia's U.N. Ambassador Sergey Lavrov said his country's stance hadn't changed, and offered some amendments to the resolution. But Western diplomats said real negotiations with Moscow would begin on Tuesday. Russia's position on the resolution is considered crucial, since many Iraq watchers believe China will follow Russia's lead in any vote on an overall new policy. France, Iraq's other ally on the council, recently was accused in the Baghdad media of leaning towards resolution, already backed by the United States and Britain. ------------------ Monday December 6 11:21 AM ET U.S. Warplanes Bomb Southern Iraq BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi military spokesman said U.S. and British aircraft bombed civilian targets in southern Iraq on Monday before being driven off by Iraqi forces. The spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency, said the planes flew 70 sorties over southern Iraq, bombing civilian targets. He did not mention casualties. The U.S. Central Command confirmed from its headquarters in Tampa, Florida, that Navy F/A-18 and F-14 jets enforcing a southern ``no-fly'' zone in Iraq bombed an anti-aircraft artillery site and a military radar near Al Amarah about 165 miles southeast of Baghdad. The announcement said the strikes were in response to Iraqi anti-aircraft fire against Western warplanes earlier in the day. While the command did not respond directly to the Iraqi charge that civilian targets were bombed, the announcement said that U.S. and British aircraft patrolling northern and southern no-fly zones in Iraq ``do not target civilian populations or infrastructure and seek to avoid injury to civilians and damage to civilian facilities.'' U.S. and British warplanes patrol no-fly zones over Iraq's north and south almost daily. The zones were declared by the West after the 1991 Gulf War to protect groups opposed to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. ``Thirty hostile formations ... flew over the provinces of Basra, Thi Qar, Meisan, Najaf, Qadissiya, Muthanna, and Kerbala and the enemy attacked our service and civil installations,'' the Iraqi military spokesman said. ``Our brave ground defenses intercepted these formations and forced them to leave Iraqi airspace.'' Western military officials insist such attacks are aimed only at military targets. On Saturday, Iraq said one person was wounded when Western aircraft bombed targets in the country's northern no-fly zone. ---------------------- __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Thousands of Stores. Millions of Products. All in one place. Yahoo! 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