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Section Six ------------ (1)Sen. Lott says Iraq missile plant report alarming WASHINGTON, March 26 (Reuters) (2)New strain of foot-and-mouth disease detected in Iraq BAGHDAD (AP)March 26. (3)Embargo killed almost 10,000 in February, Iraq claims. Nando Times. March 26 (4)FOCUS-Saddam sees first UN Iraq official since war. BAGHDAD, March 26 (Reuters) (5)Saddam bids farewell to departing U.N. humanitarian chief BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) March 26. (6)U.S. Eases Stand on Spending By Iraq By Colum Lynch Special to The Washington Post Saturday , March 25, 2000 ; A17 (7)Iraq Protests to U.N. Over U.S.-British Air Strikes BAGHDAD (Reuters)March 26 (8)Iraq denies U.S. charge it wastes money on base BAGHDAD, March 26 (Reuters) (9)Iraq wants its civilian planes returned BAGHDAD, March 26 (Reuters) ========== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000326_1170.html :03/26/2000 15:55:00 ET Sen. Lott says Iraq missile plant report alarming WASHINGTON, March 26 (Reuters) - The United States should be prepared to take military action if it confirms Iraq is financing the construction of a ballistic-missile plant in North Africa, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said Sunday. A report by New York Times columnist William Safire that Iraq and North Korea may be working together to build such a facility near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, was "alarming and chilling," Lott said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "If we confirm that this is going in Khartoum, we should be prepared to take action against that. And I'm talking about military action," the Mississippi Republican said. In a column on Thursday, Safire said the missile deal has been rumoured in American intelligence circles for months. According to an unidentified source, Iraq would provide $475 million in financing for the plant, which would be built by the cash-starved North Koreans, Safire said. Former U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Richard Butler told NBC circumstantial evidence suggests the report could be true. "The bottom line is, they're doing it again," Butler said, referring to Iraq. "They're trying to break out in the vital area of longer-range missiles." Iraq has not allowed U.N. weapons inspectors into the country since U.S.-British bombing raids in December 1998. "It would be utter folly not to assume they are back in the business of making chemical and biological warheads for such missiles," Butler said. Lott said the United States should do everything in its power to get U.N. arms inspectors back into Iraq. "I think we should be prepared to take very aggressive action," Lott said. "We should ask our allies, including Russia, to join us obviously." The U.N. Security Council in December set up a new disarmament agency and offered to ease sanctions on Iraq if it cooperated and allowed U.N. weapons inspections. That is not likely to happens unless the United States and the other "great powers stand together and make crystal clear that weapons of mass destruction must not be the subject of politics as unusual," Butler said. On a related issue, Lott said he was disturbed by the United States' growing reliance on oil from Iraq and the leverage that gives Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "We're becoming more dependent on his oil and he has the temerity to threaten us that he would cut it off," Lott said. Heading into a meeting of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna on Monday, Iraq has said it would increase production and exports by about 700,000 barrels per day over the next few weeks to reach its full output capacity of 3.1 million bpd. Meanwhile, the United States has proposed doubling the amount of oil equipment Iraq can buy under U.N. sanctions to upgrade its dilapidated industry. ============= 3/26 http://www.accessme.com/jordantimes/Sun/news/news4.htm New strain of foot-and-mouth disease detected in Iraq BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq learned on Saturday that a new strain of the cattle disorder foot-and-mouth disease had been detected in the country, following an outbreak last year that reached disastrous levels before treatment could be started. This time, Amir Khalil, representative of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation in Iraq, said he hoped for a faster response from the U.N. committee that monitors Iraq's import of vaccines and other goods. The disease could spread to neighbouring countries, he added. Under U.N. sanctions imposed for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq can import only food, medicine and other essentials, and only under U.N. supervision. The United States, one member of the monitoring committee, has been responsible for most of the holds on imports, saying it is concerned some materials that have agricultural, medical or other uses also could be used to produce chemical or biological weapons. The sanctions are to remain until Iraq convinces the United Nations it has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction and the ability to produce and deliver them. By the time vaccines reached Iraq during the last foot-and-mouth outbreak, thousands of sheep and cows had died. Fadhil A. Jassim, director general of the Veterinary Services in the Agriculture Ministry, said the 1998-99 outbreak was a “disaster” for the Iraqi economy. Tim Obi, an FAO consultant in Iraq, said he alerted the Iraqi Agriculture Ministry to the foot-and-mouth outbreak on Saturday and said vaccines now available would be useless against the new strain. Obi said realisation that there was a second strain was delayed by the lack of testing facilities in Iraq. Iraq's testing capabilities were destroyed along with other facilities U.N. inspectors believed produced banned weapons, Jassim said. Foot-and-mouth disease eats at the skin, tongues and lips, causes foot lesions and makes the animals' milk, meat and skin useless. Infected animals can neither eat nor walk. =========================== Embargo killed almost 10,000 in February, Iraq claims Copyright © 2000 Nando Media Copyright © 2000 Agence France-Press BAGHDAD (March 26, 2000 9:36 a.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - U.N. sanctions killed almost 10,000 Iraqis in February, raising the death toll >from the decade-old embargo to 1.2 million people, Iraq's health ministry claimed Sunday. It said 6,939 children died last month from acute diarrhea, respiratory problems and malnutrition. Common causes of death for adults were heart problems, hypertension, diabetes and malignant tumors. It said the overall death toll in February due to shortages caused by the embargo was 9,989, down from more than 11,000 the previous month. The sanctions have been in force since Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. ================== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000326_1106.html 03/26/2000 15:17:00 ET FOCUS-Saddam sees first UN Iraq official since war BAGHDAD, March 26 (Reuters) - President Saddam Hussein on Sunday met an Iraq-based U.N. official for the first time since the 1991 Gulf War, receiving the U.N. relief coordinator who is quitting shortly in protest at the plight of sanctions-battered Iraqis. Saddam met Hans von Sponeck, who announced in February that he would leave his post on March 31 after he criticised what he called the failure of the U.N.-mandated oil-for-food programme in Iraq to offset privations caused by post-Gulf War sanctions. It was the first time Saddam had received a U.N. official based in his country since the Gulf War. The Iraqi leader met U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in Baghdad in February 1998 in connection with a standoff over U.N.-mandated arms inspections that led to U.S.-led air strikes on Iraq later that year. Von Sponeck, a 32-year career U.N. official, caused a diplomatic stir -- riling major sanctions proponent the United States in particular -- when he said the programme had not met the minimum humanitarian requirements of 22 million Iraqis. "I feel very sad that I am leaving Iraq on Wednesday but my relations with the Iraqis will continue," the official Iraqi news agency INA quoted von Sponeck, a German, as saying in his meeting with Saddam. "My resignation was not easy but I have decided to do so because what is happening in Iraq is a big mistake. I have resigned not because of outside pressure, rather my conscience has pressed me to do so." U.S. officials accused von Sponeck of siding with Iraq in a propaganda battle over who is to blame for the suffering of the Iraqi people -- the West, for imposing harsh economic sanctions, or Saddam for failing to comply with the disarmament terms required for lifting those sanctions. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, addressing the Security Council in a debate on Friday, called for improvements in the oil-for-food programme that allows Iraq to buy essential supplies with U.N. approval. Annan said changes were especially needed for Iraqi children. Von Sponeck said a few weeks ago that the programme provided an average of only $252 per Iraqi annually, putting Iraq "in the category of a least developed country." Iraq has been the target of punishing U.N. sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which was reversed by a U.S.-led multinational force in the Gulf War. The sanctions can be eased only when Iraq's weapons of mass destruction have been accounted for and scrapped. But U.N. arms inspectors have not been allowed back into the country for more than a year. ===================== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20000326_494.html WIRE:03/26/2000 17:12:00 ET Saddam bids farewell to departing U.N. humanitarian chief BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ The outgoing head of the U.N. humanitarian program in Iraq on Sunday said his criticism of sanctions against the country was not an attempt to whitewash the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Hans Von Sponeck, who has frequently spoken out against international sanctions on Iraq, said that on Sunday he and Saddam had "a very philosophical discussion about the tragedy of his people." "The comprehensive sanctions as practiced against Iraq have failed," Von Sponeck said. The official Iraqi News Agency said Saddam told Von Sponeck "your stand expresses a lot about the situation." But Von Sponeck stressed that while he and the Iraqi government had come to the same conclusion about the U.N. sanctions, it was "for different reasons." Iraq has tried to capitalize on his resignation, with state media describing him as an honest and courageous man who refused to bend to the United States, the main advocate of maintaining sanctions. "I'm not a useful idiot. I'm not a person who's just following the Iraqi government line," Von Sponeck said. His very public denunciation of international sanctions "does not mean I don't see that there are internal reasons" for the situation in Iraq, Von Sponeck said. Von Sponeck said Saddam had welcomed him back to Iraq anytime. "The president said I don't need a visa anymore," Von Sponeck told The Associated Press. Von Sponeck is due to leave Iraq on Wednesday because he is stepping down as chief coordinator of U.N. aid programs in Iraq. The German announced his resignation last month in protest at the devastating effects of the U.N. sanctions imposed since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. Von Sponeck has also criticized the oil-for-food program, which he said does not meet the most basic needs of Iraq's 22 million people. He was responsible for administering the $10.5 billion program, which allows Iraq to sell oil and use the revenues for humanitarian goods to ease civilian suffering that has resulted from the sanctions. Increasingly, aid workers, politicians and others have questioned whether the cost of the sanctions _ deprivation for millions of ordinary Iraqis _ is worth the goal of forcing the Iraqi government to surrender its weapons of mass destruction. The sweeping trade, travel and cultural sanctions must remain in place until Iraq persuades U.N. weapons inspectors it has destroyed its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the ability to produce and deliver them. But there have been no U.N. inspectors in Iraq for more than a year, and attempts to restart checks have stalled. Days after Von Sponeck announced his resignation, the head of the U.N. World Food Program in Iraq also quit in protest against the sanctions. ================ ========= U.S. Eases Stand on Spending By Iraq By Colum Lynch Special to The Washington Post Saturday , March 25, 2000 ; A17 UNITED NATIONS, March 24 –– The United States agreed today to double the amount of money Iraq is allowed to spend repairing its oil industry and lifted "holds" on more than $100 million in electrical equipment, vehicles, truck batteries and other items destined for Iraq under an exemption to U.N. sanctions. The U.S. action came as the U.N. Security Council began an assessment of the humanitarian needs of ordinary Iraqis after nearly a decade of sanctions imposed in response to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. By showing some flexibility, the United States hopes to bolster support for keeping the sanctions in place until Iraq abandons its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and accounts for hundreds of Kuwaiti prisoners of war. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan complained that the United States was holding up $1.7 billion of Iraqi purchases under the "oil for food" program, an exemption that allows Iraq to use proceeds from oil sales to buy humanitarian supplies. "The United Nations has always been on the side of the vulnerable and weak . . . yet here we are accused of causing suffering to an entire population," Annan told the Security Council. "We are in danger of losing the argument or propaganda war--if we haven't lost it already--about who is responsible for this situation, President Saddam Hussein or the United Nations." In Washington, meanwhile, the State Department released satellite photographs of a military complex that it said the Iraqi government built for an Iranian opposition group, wasting millions of dollars that could have been spent improving the welfare of the Iraqi people. But the Iranian group, the People's Mojahedin, called the U.S. allegation "an absolute lie" and said it built the headquarters with its own funds. At the United Nations, France, China and Russia also delivered stinging attacks on the United States and Britain for subjecting Iraqi purchases to painstaking scrutiny and conducting frequent airstrikes against Iraqi targets. Sergei Lavrov, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, charged that U.S. and British aircraft have "invaded Iraqi airspace almost 20,000" times since December 1998. "As a result of airstrikes, 144 civilians have died," he said. American and British war planes patrolling the "no-fly" zones over northern and southern Iraq routinely exchange fire with Iraqi antiaircraft batteries. But U.S. and British diplomats challenged the death toll, saying it was based on dubious Iraqi claims. "This is not a bombing campaign," said James B. Cunningham, the deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations. "We are responding to threats to our aircraft. When the threats stop, there is no bombing." ============== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000326_721.html 03/26/2000 12:03:00 ET Iraq Protests to U.N. Over U.S.-British Air Strikes BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq Sunday protested to the United Nations about a British and American air strike on March 11 in which it says eight civilians were injured. The official Iraqi News Agency quoted a letter sent by Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the chairman of the U.N. Security Council. It said six of those injured in the attack, near Lake Sawa, 190 miles south of Baghdad, were civil servants and the other two were farmers. The letter said Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey, which let British and American planes fly from their territory, must share responsibility for "these aggressive and provocative acts." U.S. and British planes patrol no-fly zones over southern and northern Iraq set up after the 1991 Gulf War. The zones, which the Baghdad government does not recognize, were imposed to protect a Kurdish enclave in the north and Shi'ite Muslims in the south from possible attacks by Iraqi forces. The Western planes have bombed targets in the zones frequently since Iraq stepped up its defiance of the Western-imposed restrictions in December 1998. Iraq reported the March 11 incident at the time. Locals said missiles had destroyed a farm and some 40 date palms on the edge of the impoverished village of al-Fahad, 12 miles from Samawa, the capital of Muthanna province. There was no comment at the time from Britain or the United States, although U.S. officials say their planes only fire when tracked by Iraqi radar, and seek to avoid civilian targets. ============== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000326_371.html 03/26/2000 07:04:00 ET Iraq denies U.S. charge it wastes money on base BAGHDAD, March 26 (Reuters) - Iraq added its voice on Sunday to denials of a U.S. accusation that it is wasting money on a military complex near Baghdad for exiled Iranian opposition fighters. The Baghdad press said the charge made on Friday by the U.S. State Department, which said the money could have been used to improve the welfare of the Iraqi people, was a lie. "Such a big lie is part of the American dirty and mean role which aims at inciting outbreaks of discord," newspapers quoted the Iraqi News Agency INA as saying. The Iranian opposition group Mujahideen Khalq, which is based in Iraq, denied the U.S. accusation on Friday. The group said that it alone had paid for the base near Baghdad and the State Department charges were propaganda to justify retaining harsh U.N. sanctions against Iraq. The State Department, which released a photograph of the base on Friday, linked its allegations to a U.N. Security Council debate on the same day on humanitarian aspects of the sanctions. Washington is under increasing international pressure to allow the easing of the sanctions which according to U.N. officials are causing great distress to the people of Iraq. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Security Council during Friday's debate that Iraq was apparently winning the propaganda war on sanctions. He called for improvements in a U.N. oil-for-food programme allowing Iraq to buy essential supplies with U.N. approval, saying they were especially needed for children. He said the suffering of ordinary Iraqis caused by the sanctions posed "a serious moral dilemma" for the United Nations. Baghdad newspapers also denied U.S. charges that the Mujahideen Khalq is a terrorist group. "We tell the U.S. State Department that it knows better than any one else that Iraq is not among those supporting terrorism or dealing with it," INA said. "America is country number one in the world in supporting organised terrorism." The Mujahideen use Iraq as a springboard for attacks into Iran and have several bases equipped with tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships close to the Iranian border. ========================== http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000326_404.html 03/26/2000 07:53:00 ET Iraq wants its civilian planes returned BAGHDAD, March 26 (Reuters) - An influential Iraqi newspaper on Sunday asked for the return of civilian aircraft held in neighbouring countries since the U.N. clamped sanctions on Baghdad for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. "Isn't it logical to return these planes to their owners to be used to transport Iraqi pilgrims," the newspaper Babil, run by President Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday, said. "Under what right or law are these countries are maintaining them and preventing their return to Iraq?" the newspaper asked. The United Nations has so far refused to allow the 37 planes to be flown back to Iraq on the grounds that they are an economic resource whose return would violation the sanctions. Iraq sent the airliners to neighbouring countries to protect them against possible attack shortly before the Gulf War began. The aircraft are believed to be in Jordan, Tunisia and Iran. Iraqi Airways has been grounded since the United Nations imposed the sanctions. The only exceptions to the grounding have been a few flights carrying Iraqi Moslem pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. ======================== -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi