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News for the period December 12 to December 19, 1999 Sources: Reuters, Associated Press Because so much has been posted to the CASI email list this week, this week's news is mainly printed for posterity. Headlines * Security Council adopts new resolution on Iraq. Four countries France, Russia, Chin and Malaysia abstain. * Iraqi government rejects new resolution. * Interesting stories about the political manouverings up to and after the SCR vote are also included. No news on bombings or the effects of sanctions this week. ----------------------------- Sunday December 19 1:16 PM ET U.S. Says U.N. Vote Adds Legitimacy to Iraq Embargo WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.N. Security Council resolution that offered Baghdad a way out of crippling economic sanctions has given greater international legitimacy to the long-standing embargo, a senior U.S. official said Sunday. After months of tough negotiations, the Security Council on Friday voted narrowly to adopt a resolution that could send U.N. weapons inspectors back to Iraq and ease sanctions if Baghdad cooperates with them. The vote was 11-0, with abstentions by permanent council members China, France and Russia, along with Malaysia. ``Now if Iraq does not want to accept this, which is what they've said ... the sanctions will remain in effect,'' White House National Security Adviser Sandy Berger told the CBS News program ``Face the Nation.'' ``And I think the sanctions will have, in some sense, a greater degree of legitimacy and acceptability around the world because we offered them (the Iraqis) an opportunity to a path to come out of sanctions if they disarm, which they've rejected,'' Berger added. Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz Saturday dismissed the U.N. resolution. The measure ``does not meet Iraq's legitimate right in removing the (U.N.) embargo,'' Aziz said in a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency INA in Baghdad. ``The real aim of the resolution ... is not to lift the embargo, rather it is misleading public opinion because the trickery suspension (of sanctions) stated by the American and British resolution imposes a series of complicated, long and vague conditions,'' Aziz said. The resolution sets up a new arms inspection agency, named the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), to replace the old U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) charged with dismantling Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Iraqi officials have said they would not allow U.N. weapons inspectors to return to Iraq. They were withdrawn almost exactly a year ago, shortly before the United States and Britain launched four days of air and missile attacks. The resolution lifts the cap on how much oil Iraq can sell under the three-year-old ``oil-for-food'' program, currently set at $5.26 billion every six months. The program enables Iraq to buy food, medicine and other necessities to help offset the effects of stringent economic sanctions in force since its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. ``I think this vote is very significant,'' Berger said. ``We worked for three or four months to formulate a position that would pass the U.N. Security Council -- a few abstentions, but it passed, no one vetoed it.'' Berger said with the passage of the resolution ``we've reestablished, in a sense, a consensus on certain things: That Iraq is out of compliance with U.N. resolutions, that there needs to be (weapon) inspections, (and) that there can't be sanctions relief until they've fulfilled their requirements.'' ----------------------------- Saturday December 18 7:41 AM ET Iraq's Aziz Dismisses U.N. Resolution As Trickery By Hassan Hafidh BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on Saturday dismissed as trickery a U.N. resolution that could ease Gulf War sanctions on Iraq if Baghdad cooperated with a new weapons inspection regime. ``The resolution which was adopted yesterday does not meet Iraq's legitimate right in removing the (U.N.) embargo,'' Aziz said in a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency INA. ``The real aim of the resolution...is not to lift the embargo, rather it is misleading the public opinion because the trickery suspension (of sanctions) stated by the American and British resolution impose a series of complicated, long and vague conditions,'' Aziz said. He said that Iraq had met all its commitments toward the U.N. resolutions which were passed after the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait and it was now time to lift the sanctions completely. Aziz also said that the resolution did not tackle the no-fly zones imposed on Iraq by the United States and Britain to protect a Kurdish enclave in the north and Muslim Shi'ites in the south from possible attacks by Baghdad. ``It fails to mention the aggression against Iraq and the daily violations of its sovereignty as America and Britain impose the so-called no-fly zones,'' he said. He hailed China, France and Russia for abstaining along with Malaysia from voting but said that his country had hoped they would use their veto to prevent the resolution. He criticised Bahrain, Namibia and Brazil for voting in favor. ``We were hoping from some permanent members who had taken a balanced stand from the debate which lasted for several months to prevent the resolution by vetoing it, but we appreciate their abstentions,'' he said. ``By voting in favor of the decision, Bahrain has not mirrored the position of most Arab countries, rather it has acted as a bias to American-British policy,'' he added. Aziz said regardless of speculations and threats, his country was ready to ``defend its sovereignty and bear all results of its stand (from the resolution).'' The Security Council, after months of contentious negotiations, adopted by 11 votes to none a resolution on Friday that could send U.N. weapons inspectors back to Iraq and ease Gulf War sanctions if Baghdad cooperates with a new U.N. disarmament agency. The new resolution sets up a new arms inspection agency, named the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), to replace the old U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) charged with dismantling Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Iraqi officials have said they would not allow U.N. weapons inspectors to return to Iraq. They were withdrawn almost exactly a year ago, shortly before the United States and Britain launched four days of air and missile attacks. The resolution lifts the cap on how much oil Iraq can sell under the three-year-old ``oil-for-food'' program, currently set at $5.26 billion every six months. ----------------------------- Saturday December 18 3:28 AM ET U.N. Votes To Return Iraq Monitors By EDITH M. LEDERER Associated Press Writer UNITED NATIONS (AP) - After a year of divisive debate, the Security Council finally has a new U.N. policy on Iraq. But Iraq's allies on the council are already saying it's unworkable. And with Iraq demanding that U.N. sanctions be lifted if weapons inspectors return to the country - which isn't part of the deal - the stage appears set for more confrontation. Britain and the United States had hoped to get all 15 council members behind the resolution in order to send a unified message to Baghdad that the Security Council would stand for nothing less than full compliance with its demands. But in Friday's vote only 11 members backed the new U.N. policy, which is two more than the minimum required. Russia, China, France and Malaysia abstained. The resolution creates a new inspection agency to restart monitoring and destruction of Iraq's biological and chemical weapons, and missiles to deliver them. And it offers Baghdad the possibility of having sanctions suspended for renewable periods of 120 days if it cooperates with the weapons inspectors ``in all respects.'' ``This is a resolution that is mandatory,'' stressed Britain's U.N. Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, who steered the resolution through the council. ``It is the law of the globe. Under the U.N. Charter, every member has to implement it. Iraq is a U.N. member.'' In the past two weeks, however, Saddam Hussein's government has rejected the resolution using such words as ``vicious'' and ``venomous.'' China's U.N. Ambassador Qin Huasun said it was ``highly questionable'' whether the resolution could ever be implemented. ``As I am sure everyone understands, without Iraqi cooperation, implementation of any resolution will hardly be possible,'' he said. ``If Iraq cannot see any hope at the end of the tunnel by implementing the resolutions ... how could it be willing and ready to offer the cooperation we hope for?'' The yearlong crisis with Iraq began when U.N. weapons inspectors departed a day before U.S. and British warplanes launched airstrikes to punish Baghdad for its failure to cooperate fully with their inspections. Calling the resolution's wording ``too ambiguous,'' French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said ``we think it may give rise to an interpretation allowing some countries to keep on forever saying that the cooperation hasn't taken place and that, consequently, the embargo can't be suspended. That's what we fear.'' His comments appeared to be directed especially at the United States, which reiterated Friday that it isn't easing up on its demands for Iraqi disarmament. ``Today's resolution does not raise the bar on what is required of Iraq in the area of disarmament - but it also does not lower it,'' said U.S. deputy ambassador Peter Burleigh. The United States would welcome a favorable response from Baghdad and cooperation in clearing up outstanding disarmament issues so the council can consider suspending sanctions, he said. ``We are not seeking an excuse to use force,'' he said. But Washington has ``no illusion that the Iraqi regime is likely to change its spots,'' Burleigh said. Regardless of Iraqi cooperation, Secretary-General Kofi Annan is now authorized by the council to appoint an executive chairman of the new inspection agency called the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, or UNMOVIC, within 30 days. The resolution also automatically removes the $5.26 billion limit on the amount of oil Baghdad can sell over six months through the U.N. oil-for-food program to finance the purchase of food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies to help ordinary Iraqis cope with sanctions. And Annan is authorized to appoint a special envoy to try to clear up two key issues stemming from Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait: the fate of more than 600 missing people and third country nations and the whereabouts of stolen property. --------------------- Friday December 17 5:57 PM ET U.S. Disappointed With Abstentions By PAULINE JELINEK Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - The Clinton administration said it's disappointed some countries abstained when the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to restart weapons inspections in Iraq, but said the decision nevertheless would send ``a strong message'' to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Russia, France, China and Malaysia abstained on a resolution to resume weapons inspections and offer to suspend sanctions if Baghdad cooperates. It was a setback to U.S. and British efforts to send Baghdad a united signal that the Security Council would stand for nothing less than full compliance with its demands. The resolution passed 11-0, with the four abstentions. At least nine votes in favor were required for passage. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said France's abstention was the biggest disappointment. ``I think Russia and China have articulated reasons for their abstentions that speak for themselves,'' Lockhart told reporters. ``We believe it's unfortunate that France took the position that they did ... given the fact that they (earlier had) supported the text'' of the resolution. But Lockhart portrayed the resolution's passage as a success, nonetheless. ``I think the bottom line is there was a strong majority that sent a strong message to Saddam Hussein and passed a strong resolution,'' he said. The resolution ``puts the onus back on him to decide on whether he's going to allow the inspectors to come in; whether he's going to fulfill the disarmament task that they've laid for them; and whether he's going to cooperate and comply with the United Nations,'' Lockhart said. ----------------------- Friday December 17, 3:50 pm Eastern Time Iraqi MP says believes Baghdad rejects UN vote (Clarifies Douri says was not speaking for government) By Hassan Hafidh BAGHDAD, Dec 17 (Reuters) - A leading Iraqi parliamentarian said on Friday he believed Iraq would reject a U.N. resolution that could ease Gulf War trade sanctions on Iraq if Baghdad cooperated with a new weapons' inspection commission. Khalid al-Douri, head of parliament's Arab and Foreign Relations Committee, said he was speaking in a personal capacity and not for the government. ``Iraq does not accept the new resolution and will not accept any decision which does not lift the embargo without any restrictions or conditions,'' he told Reuters. Douri criticised Russia and France for just abstaining from voting on the resolution. ``We were hoping that Russia would use its veto power in order to restore its prestige among world nations,'' he said. ``The French stand (in abstaining) is confusing and it is rather biased to the Americans,'' he said. The Security Council, after months of contentious negotiations, adopted a resolution on Friday that could send U.N. weapons inspectors back to Iraq and ease Gulf War sanctions if Baghdad cooperates with a new U.N. disarmament agency. The resolution passed by 11 votes to nil, with permanent Security Council members Russia, China and France abstaining, joined by Malaysis. Earlier, the Iraqi News Agency INA reported that President Saddam Hussein met his top aides but it did not report whether the meeting tackled anything related to Friday's resolution. Iraqi officials and media have repeatedly rejected the resolution before it was adopted, saying it does not move Iraq any closer to the lifting of sanctions which have ruined its economy and infrastructure and damaged the health and lifestyles of its people. ``The resolution is cheating and malicious and aiming at bringing Iraq under imperialist mandate,'' Douri said. The resolution was sponsored by Britain, which holds this month's council presidency and led many of the negotiations on the measure. Iraqi officials have said they would not allow U.N. weapons inspectors to return to Iraq, saying they were American spies. The new resolution sets up a new arms inspection agency, named the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), to replace the old U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) charged with dismantling Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Baghdad has said the new commission is only different in name from the old UNSCOM, which has not been allowed in Iraq since last December when the United States and Britain launched extensive air and missile raids against the country. --------------------------- Friday December 17, 2:59 pm Eastern Time FOCUS-France defends U.N. Iraq vote abstention (New throughout following UN vote, pvs BERLIN) PARIS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - France on Friday defended its decision to abstain from a U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution to suspend sanctions against Iraq, saying the text was ambiguous and could lead to fresh crises with Baghdad. The resolution was passed by 11 to 0, with two other U.N. permanent council members, China and Russia, also abstaining along with Malaysia. The vote could result in U.N. weapons inspectors returning to Iraq and ease Gulf War sanctions against the country, so long as it cooperates with a new U.N. disarmament agency. However, France criticised the fact the text did not spell out exactly what disarmament measures Iraq had to meet before sanctions were lifted. ``The text risks causing distorted interpretations...which could have as an objective an indefinite delay on any decision over the sanctions. Such a position could only lead to new crises,'' the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The resolution calls for the creation of an arms inspection agency called the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has 30 days to appoint an executive chairman to the body. ``This could be the occasion to remove the last ambiguities in the text of the resolution and regain the unanimity of the council for the full weight of its authority,'' the Foreign Ministry in Paris said. Diplomats have said Paris was caught in a dilemma over the vote -- wary of upsetting its Western allies by failing to back the draft resolution but worried about prospects for its oil firms in Iraq if it angers Baghdad by supporting the draft. The Foreign Ministry said it welcomed the fact independent arms inspectors might now return to Iraq, adding that everything must be done to improve ``the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Iraq'' brought about by economic sanctions. It said it had wanted to see sanctions suspended for a brief ``probation period,'' but said this idea had been turned down by some of its U.N. partners. ------------------------------- Friday December 17 1:09 PM ET UN Council Adopts Critical Resolution on Iraq By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Security Council, ending months of contentious negotiations, adopted on Friday a resolution that could send U.N. weapons inspectors back to Iraq and ease Gulf War sanctions if it cooperates with a new U.N. disarmament agency. The vote was 11-0 vote, with abstentions by permanent council members China, France and Russia, along with Malaysia, thereby sending a message to Iraq of division in the council. The resolution was sponsored by Britain, which holds this month's council presidency and led many of the negotiations on the measure. Baghdad, which has long claimed it no longer has any weapons of mass destruction, has already stated its rejection of the resolution, presenting the council with a looming new problem. The main issue of contention, that brought the abstentions, was what Russia, China and France called the lack of clarity in spelling out exactly which disarmament measure Iraq had to meet before a suspension of the sanctions, imposed after Baghdad invaded Kuwait in August 1990. ``To put to vote a draft resolution under such circumstances wherein no consensus is reached after prolonged consultations will not possibly solve the age-old Iraq issue,'' China's ambassador Qin Huasun said. But U.S. representative Peter Burleigh, said the adoption ''marks a profoundly important moment for the Security Council.'' He said the resolution ``is clear. It is reasonable. It can be implemented.'' U.N. teams hunting down President Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and the ballistic missiles to deliver them, have been barred from returning to Iraq since being withdrawn almost exactly a year ago. They left shortly before the United States and Britain launched four days of air and missile attacks in retaliation for Iraq's failure to cooperate with U.N. weapons experts. The long and detailed council resolution sets up a new arms inspection agency, called the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, or UNMOVIC, to replace the old U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) that has been in limbo for most of the past year. Secretary-General Kofi Annan must appoint an executive chairman of UNMOVIC within 30 days. An immediate benefit for Iraq is the complete lifting of the cap on how much oil it is allowed to sell under the 3-year-old U.N. ``oil for food program,'' currently set at $5.26 billion worth of oil every six months. This enables Iraq to buy food, medicine and other necessities to help offset the effects of stringent economic sanctions in force since its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But Iraq's oil revenues will still be paid into a U.N. escrow account, from which suppliers will be paid and about one-third skimmed off to pay Gulf War reparations and meet other expenses. Parts and equipment to upgrade Iraq's oil industry will also be expedited on the basis of lists drawn up by a group of experts. A panel is to survey Iraq's oil industry and recommend long-term improvements that the Security Council would consider above the current limit of $300 million every six months. The resolution also calls for the immediate streamlining of procedures for Iraqi imports of foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, agricultural equipment and educational items. An easing of sanctions will depend on Iraqi cooperation with UNMOVIC, once it has been established and begins functioning. The resolution provides that if Baghdad cooperates for a test period of 120 days, it will earn a suspension of sanctions, renewable every 120 days. --------------------------- Thursday December 16 8:09 PM ET UN Vote May Lead to Iraq Inspection By EDITH M. LEDERER Associated Press Writer UNITED NATIONS (AP) - For the third time this week, the Security Council scheduled a vote on a new U.N. Iraq policy that could restart weapons inspections, but it was unclear whether French concerns would delay Friday's vote. Britain and the United States have pressed for a vote, after eight months of negotiations. Britain currently holds the council presidency and determines its agenda. The vote was scheduled for Monday, but was postponed to try to address Russian and Chinese concerns. Voting was delayed again Tuesday because of French concerns. France said Wednesday it wanted key ministers attending a meeting in Berlin this week to clarify certain points in the resolution so it could be more easily implemented. The foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, France and Russia - all permanent Security Council members - are attending the G-8 meeting in Berlin, along with fellow ministers from Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada. The meeting started Thursday, but U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright isn't arriving until Friday, and it was not known whether the four ministers planned to meet. France's U.N. Ambassador Alain Dejammet said Wednesday the Berlin meeting provided an opportunity to get all 15 council members behind the resolution to send a united message to Iraq. The resolution would resume U.N. weapons inspections, which stopped a year ago, and offer Iraq the possibility of having sanctions suspended if it cooperates with the weapons inspectors. Iraq claims it has already disarmed, and demands that sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait be lifted - not suspended - in exchange for allowing inspectors back in the country. The Russians and Chinese want sanctions suspended soon after Iraq allows inspectors to return, and would not require Baghdad to complete specific disarmament tasks. The United States and Britain want Iraqi answers to questions about its disarmament, and they want a longer waiting period before sanctions could be suspended. The head of the U.N. humanitarian program in Iraq said the Security Council should separate Iraq's humanitarian needs from its disarmament. Sanctions, he said, had reduced the country's 22 million people to dire conditions. ``The situation is so serious that very special attention has to be paid to the civilian side of the discussion as distinct from the disarmament discussion,'' Hans von Sponeck said in an interview with The Associated Press Television News in Baghdad. Washington and London protested when Von Sponeck made a similar comment last year. ----------------------------------- Wednesday December 15 9:39 AM ET Iraq Sets New Oil Export Date By WAIEL FALEH Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq announced today that it will resume crude oil exports later this week and complained of late approval by the U.N. sanctions committee of oil contracts submitted earlier. The exports will be under the U.N. oil-for-food program, which the Security Council renewed on Friday for a new six-month term. ``The operations of oil exports for the seventh phase of the oil-for-food program will start on Friday or Saturday,'' the official Iraqi News Agency said, quoting the Oil Ministry. The program, an exception to U.N. economic sanctions, allows Iraq to sell oil worth $5.2 billion every six months to buy food and other humanitarian goods. Iraq had halted the oil exports to protest a stopgap two-week extension when the sixth phase of the humanitarian program ended on Nov. 20. It was extended again by a week. On Sunday, Iraq said it had signed many contracts for oil exports and submitted them to the sanctions committee for approval, expecting exports to start today or Thursday. But pending approval of the committee, loading procedures at Iraq's two oil terminals was held up, the Oil Ministry was quoted as saying. Iraq could export up to 2.4 million barrels a day, but with current international oil prices it will stick to the previous rate of about 2.2 million barrels a day. Any substantial boost to exports will take place only when the United Nations scraps the financial cap on the program. Iraq has been working on increasing production capacity to reach the level it was at before 1990, when the sanctions were imposed to punish Iraq for invading Kuwait. Russian companies have been digging new wells and improving some old ones. State-run newspapers reported that Oil Minister Amer Mohammed Rashid had opened a new project that adds 70,000 barrels a day to the 900,000 barrels produced daily at the giant Kirkuk field in northern Iraq. ----------------------------------- Tuesday December 14 11:02 PM ET Britain Delays UN Vote on Iraq By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press Writer UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Britain again delayed a vote Tuesday on a Security Council resolution that would return U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq after France said it still wasn't satisfied and wanted more time to negotiate. The delay was announced after Britain amended the resolution to address Russian and Chinese concerns about the level of Iraqi cooperation with the inspectors that would be required before U.N. sanctions could be suspended. British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, the current council president, said he welcomed the postponement if it meant there would be more positive votes when the text eventually goes before the full 15-member council. ``We don't want to close a window if there is the slightest possibility of maximum consensus,'' Greenstock said in announcing the delay. But diplomats said if there is no veto, there will probably be four abstentions - Russia, China, France and Malaysia. Greenstock didn't say when he would reschedule the vote, which was originally announced for Monday and then Tuesday. French Ambassador Alain Dejammet suggested a delay of more than a day would enable the foreign ministers of the seven major industrial powers and Russia to try to reach a consensus. The G-8 meeting in Berlin begins Thursday. ``Sometimes it's better, yes, to wait for a few hours if there is the possibility to have something which will not be right away rejected and later on not implemented,'' Dejammet said. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a news conference the council faced tremendous hurdles in actually implementing the resolution. ``We know the history of the U.N. and Iraq,'' Annan said. ``I don't expect it to be any easier this time around after the inspectors have returned. So we should be prepared for hard and difficult work.'' Britain on Monday night revised the text, which had originally required Iraq to ``fully'' cooperate with inspectors before crippling sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait could be suspended. The revised text circulated Tuesday deletes the word ``fully'' and says instead that Iraq must cooperate ``in all respects'' with the inspectors before a suspension is approved. ``It proves that changes are possible,'' Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov told reporters. Lavrov said he wasn't completely satisfied with the text, however, and added that his vote ultimately would ``depend on the level of my dissatisfaction.'' Chen Renfang, spokesman for China's U.N. mission, said Beijing similarly wanted further changes but felt the new wording was an improvement. The Russians and Chinese want sanctions suspended soon after Iraq allows inspectors to return, and would not require Baghdad to complete specific disarmament tasks. The United States and Britain want Iraqi answers to outstanding questions about its disarmament and a longer waiting period. 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 fully with their efforts. Even if the resolution is passed, there still remains the question of whether Iraq will even allow the inspectors to return. Without mentioning names, Annan described the perfect candidate to head up the new U.N. inspection agency in Iraq, saying he would ``look for a personality who knows about disarmament, a personality who has good judgment, who has people skills, who can be firm - firm but correct.'' ``In effect, I'll probably be looking for somebody like Rolf Ekeus,'' he said. Ekeus was executive director of the U.N. Special Commission before he left in 1997 to become Sweden's ambassador to the United States. Iraq has said inspectors from the U.N. Special Commission may not return and has demanded sanctions be lifted. Under previous U.N. resolutions, sanctions can only be lifted when inspectors report Iraq is free of its banned weapons. ----------------------------- __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Thousands of Stores. Millions of Products. All in one place. Yahoo! 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