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News for 3 January to 9 January, 2000

News for period January 3 to January 9, 2000

Sources: Reuters, AP, 

Thanks to Marc Azar. I have reprinted the article he
posted on the Iraqi foreign minister's comments on
missing person negotiations.

Apologies for the brevity of this week's report, but
there hasn't been much Iraqi news on the wires this

*       Human Rights Watch released a statement calling for
sanctions to be revised. A number of people on the
CASI mailing list were annoyed by aspects of the HRW
statement and sent critical letters to HRW.

*       Iraq accused the UN sanctions committee of
obstructing electric power projects.

*       Iraqi study finds pollution in agricultural lands
due to US shelling.

*       No bombings reported this week.

*       Iraq foreign minister says that his government will
work with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to determine the
fate of missing persons from the Gulf War.

*       Iraqi Deputy PM, Tariq Aziz, visits China. Report
includes Xinhua News Agency comment on Chinese-Iraqi

*       Some criticisms of UN SCR 1284 by Iraqi government
members are reproduced.

*       Oil prices dropped significantly in the last week.


01/09/2000 03:05:00 ET 
Iraq says to work with Saudi on Gulf War missing DOHA,

Jan 9 (Reuters) - 
Iraq's foreign minister was quoted on Sunday as saying
that Baghdad was ready to work with Saudi Arabia and
Kuwait to determine the fate of hundreds of people
missing since the 1991 Gulf War. Mohammed Saeed
al-Sahaf, on a visit to Qatar, also told the United
Arab Emirates newspaper al-Bayan in an interview that
experts from Saudi Arabia and Iraq may soon start work
to recover the remains of a Saudi pilot who was buried
in an Iraqi minefield after his plane was shot down in
1991. "Maybe soon, we will start some kind of
cooperation with Saudi Arabia," Sahaf said in the
interview. He said that Iraq had informed Saudi Arabia
through the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) that it had found the wreckage of a Saudi
warplane that was shot down in 1991 and that an Iraqi
officer who had buried the pilot's body had also come
forward. "This officer volunteered to go to that mined
area again to identify the location where the pilot
was buried," Sahaf said. Hundreds of people were
reported missing after the 1990-91 Gulf War. Kuwait
says Iraq was holding some 600 of its nationals
prisoners in Baghdad. Baghdad denies holding any
foreign prisoners but acknowledges that there were
people missing. "We did not keep any prisoners,
whether from Kuwait or from other nationalities,
because we have no interest in doing so and because we
consider it a shame to do so," Sahaf said. "But the
Kuwaitis deny that 1,150 Iraqis were missing in
Kuwait. We, therefore, demand that Iraq, Kuwait and
Saudi Arabia cooperate under ICRC supervision in
accordance with United Nations resolution 687 to find
out the fate of all missing Iraqis, Saudis and
Kuwaitis," he added. But he said Baghdad did not
accept that the United States, Britain or France
should sit in on the talks, saying that the fate of
people missing from these countries had already been
resolved. He said these countries had political
motives for participation in the talks. "We have
discussed all these issues with them and we handed
them over their prisoners and directed them to the
bodies of their (war) dead," Sahaf said. 


JANUARY 07, 10:38 EST 
Iraq, China Discuss U.N. Inspectors 
BEIJING (AP)  China urged Iraq today to cooperate
with U.N. weapons inspectors to speed the lifting of
trade sanctions against the Arab country, state-run
media reported. 
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told visiting
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz that China was
opposed to sanctions, but Baghdad needed to respect
U.N. Security Council resolutions, the Xinhua News
Agency said. 
In an apparent effort to coax Baghdad, Tang told Aziz
that the council should ``be fair and objective'' in
assessing Iraq's cooperation and ``gradually ease and
eventually lift the sanctions,'' Xinhua reported. 
Before his meeting with Tang, Aziz said Iraq
appreciated Beijing's support. 
``China has always taken a principled position
vis-a-vis the question and Iraq and many international
affairs. And we are satisfied,'' Aziz said. 
On Saturday, Aziz leaves Beijing for the economically
booming southeastern city of Shenzhen before traveling
on to Sanya, a resort city on tropical Hainan island.
He then travels to Malaysia. 


Iraq accuses UN sanctions committee of obstructing
electric power projects


Iraq, Economics, 1/7/2000

Iraq blamed the United Nations Sanctions Committee for
stopping some strategic electric projects by
obstructing and suspending special contracts in the
electric sector.
Mosalhan Khalaf El-Kabori, general manager of the
projects, said the sanctions imposed on Iraq stopped
the implementation of three major projects for
producing the electric power, concerning which Iraq
contracted with known international companies.
Iraqi study finds pollution in agricultural lands due
to US shelling


Iraq, Politics, 1/7/2000

Iraqi study found five kinds of fungal poisons which
cause cancer and other diseases in the areas that were
shelled with uranium and chemical materials in south
The study, published by El-Ektesadi weekly newspaper,
said the shelling of Iraqi petroleum and industrial
establishments led to pollution of a large area of
agricultural lands and that nearly 3,800 feddans were
ruined for agriculture.
US humanitarian organization calls for revising
embargo on Iraq 


Iraq, Politics, 1/7/2000 

A US organization in defense of human rights, Human
Rights Watch, has called on the United Nations
Security Council to revise the sanctions imposed on
Iraq so as to withstand the "ongoing humanitarian
emergency" in the country.  The organization said in a
message to the US ambassador at the UN, Richard
Holbrook, and the other 14 members of the UN Security
Council "to take further steps to respond to the
ongoing humanitarian emergency there."  Human Rights
Watch recommended to permit Iraq to import "civilian
goods" and pave the way for investments in the
country's economy, with strengthened measures to ban
imports of a military nature.
JANUARY 06, 05:58 EST 

Saddam Says Sanctions on Iraq Crumbling

Thursday, January 06, 2000 

By Hassan Hafidh 

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - President Saddam Hussein said
Thursday sanctions on Iraq were crumbling away of
their own accord and avoided any mention of a U.N.
resolution that could ease crippling trade embargoes
against Baghdad. 
Maintaining a barrage of criticism against the United
Nations -- and the United States and Britain in
particular -- Iraq said it had only received half the
medical supplies from contracts signed as part of an
Iraqi deal with the U.N. 
"Medical materials arrived during the past six phases
(of the deal) did not exceed 54 percent while 46
percent of the materials contracted have not arrived
till now," the official Iraqi News Agency quoted
Health Ministry Undersecretary Shawki Murqis as
Murqis accused the United States and Britain of
blocking the contracts, signed under Iraq's
oil-for-food deal with the United Nations. 
Saddam, in a broadcast to the nation on the 79th
anniversary of the Iraqi armed forces, told his people
not to expect the United Nations to lift the sanctions
that have ruined their economy for nearly a decade. 
He said Iraq, which fell foul of U.N. sanctions after
its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, would stick to its
policies and would continue to defy what he termed
"powers of evil" -- a clear reference to the West. 
The Iraqi leader made no clear mention of a December
17 U.N. resolution, already rejected by Baghdad, which
could suspend sanctions on Iraq. 
The resolution also opened the way for a possible
return of U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq. Any curb on
trade embargoes would depend on Baghdad's cooperation
with a new U.N. disarmament agency. 
"We have said with certainty that the embargo will not
be lifted by a (U.N.) Security Council resolution but
will corrode by itself," Saddam declared in his
address broadcast live by state television and radio. 
Baghdad says it will accept nothing less than a total
lifting of trade embargoes. 
"The stage of embargo corrosion is no longer something
which we predict or wait for. It has actually
started," he said. The Iraqi leader did not explain
how the nine-year-old sanctions were eroding. 
His 25-minute speech heaped praise on the Iraqi Army
and Arab nations. Unlike previous speeches, there were
no bitter remarks against Arab foes, particularly
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. 
But he accused some Arab leaders without naming them
of being weak and treacherous. "Among those who are
counted in the list of Arab rulers...are some who have
weakened and some who have abased themselves through
treachery," he said. 
Murqis said that apart from medicine, blocked
contracts included x-ray equipment and others for eye
examination, physiotherapy apparatus and laboratory
The U.N. says some materials are rejected because they
could have dual civilian and military use. 


UN Agencies Call for Final Push to Wipe Out Polio

Thursday, January 06, 2000 

The World Health Organization and the U.N. Children's
Fund called on 30 African and Asian heads of state to
make a final push to wipe out polio, the crippling
virus that afflicts young children. 
"We are on the verge of an historic public health
victory the eradication of poliomyelitis, a disease
which has caused untold suffering to millions of
children in all parts of the world," WHO
director-general Gro Harlem Brundtland and UNICEF
executive director Carol Bellamy wrote in their
The two sent appeals to 30 countries in Africa and
southern Asia, saying that success in the campaign to
eliminate the disease hinges on efforts by these
nations to wipe out the last traces of the disease. 
Despite enormous strides in eradicating polio, wars
and persistent poverty are impeding a final success.
Bellamy and Dr. Brundtland, a physician and former
Norwegian prime minister, appealed particularly to
nations in conflict zones to initiate a truce so
vaccinations could take place. 
Polio has been wiped out in North, Central and South
America, Europe and the Western Pacific region as well
as much of the Middle East and most of northern and
southern Africa. 
WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International, which has
mobilized volunteers around the world for national
immunization days, began a campaign in 1988 to
eradicate polio by the end of the year 2000. The
volunteers administer two drops of liquid of an oral
polio vaccine, along with a capsule of vitamin A,
which builds up a child's resistance and can prevent
The number of cases has fallen from some 350,000 in
1988 to some 5,200 reported cases in 1999. But many
cases are not reported from the disease, which is
highly infectious, affects the spinal cord and brain
and causes paralysis and even death in children under
five years of age. 
Brundtland at a conference in New Delhi, said the year
2000 was a "window of opportunity to defeat the
disease forever." India has 70 percent of the world'
remaining polio cases. 
The 30 countries that received letters from WHO and
UNICEF were: Angola, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin,
Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, Congo Republic,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran,
Iraq, North Korea, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal,
Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan
and Togo. 


Al-Sahaf: Resolution 1284 is impractical and not

Iraq, Politics, 1/4/2000 

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahaf depicted
United Nations Security Council resolution 1284 as
impractical and not applicable as it imposes new
commitments, formulas and requirements on Iraq aimed
at maintaining economic sanctions.  Iraq launched a
campaign of severe criticism against the resolution
before and after it was issued, yet it has not yet
formally said whether the resolution is accepted or
refused.  In statements to Iraq's satellite channel
yesterday, al-Sahaf said that resolution 1284 is based
on the premise that if the head of the new committee
for weapons inspection said the disarmament issue is
over in Iraq, the sanctions would not be lifted unless
Iraq implements the other items in the resolution.


Oil Tumbles As Wholesalers Destock
Tuesday, January 04, 2000 

By Richard Mably 

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices took a dive on Tuesday,
hit by the smooth transition through the millennium
computer date change and abnormally mild weather in
the United States. 
Benchmark Brent crude in the first trading day of the
New Year in London last traded down 70 cents at $24.38
a barrel. Dealers attributed the decline in part to
Tuesday's temperatures of an extraordinary 20-25
degrees Fahrenheit over the seasonal norm in the
Northeast United States, the world's single largest
heating oil market. 
Potential troublespots like Russia and key OPEC powers
in the Gulf, Africa and Latin America all said energy
flows pumped through the date change to 2000 without
Iraq too said exports continued after the clock on its
export pipeline through Turkey was turned back by four
years but shippers said exports from the southern
Turkish port of Ceyhan were scheduled for a week-long
gap. That could cut average Iraqi supplies for January
by 500,000 bpd to about 1.45 million. 

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