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News for period January 3 to January 9, 2000 -------------------------------------------- Sources: Reuters, AP, www.arabicnews.com 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 week. * 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 relations. * 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 (www.arabicnews.com) 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 (www.arabicnews.com) 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 Iraq. 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 (www.arabicnews.com) 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 saying. 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 materials. 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 UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - 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 letter. 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 blindness. 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 applicable www.arabicnews.com 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 incident. 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. ... --------------- __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger. http://im.yahoo.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi