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more news about Italian plane landing in Iraq


04/03/2000 14:41:00 ET
Rights campaigners break Iraq flight embargo

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A direct flight from the Jordanian capital Amman to
Iraq landed at Baghdad airport Monday, breaking the 10-year-old U.N.
embargo on flights to Iraq, witnesses said. The small plane, an
Italian-made B-86, landed at 7:45 p.m.  local time, carrying three
Italians and a Frenchman.

Aboard the aircraft were European Parliament member Vittorio Sgardi,
French Catholic priest and filmmaker Jean-Marie Benjamin, who is also
secretary general of Deato Angelico Foundation, Italian Nicola Grauso and
Massimo Santo Paolo, an Italian journalist.

They said in a statement they did not ask the United Nations for
authorization. Their aim was to defy the stringent sanctions imposed on
Baghdad by the U.N. in 1990, when Iraq invaded its neighbor Kuwait. The
sanctions ban international flights from and into Iraq.

"We request ... the secretary-general of the U.N., the member states of
the Security Council and the (U.N. human rights commissioner) to intervene
as soon as possible for the immediate and total lifting of the embargo ...
and to implement rapid and effective aid for the country's
reconstruction," the statement said.

International human rights organizations have increasingly criticized the
impact of the sanctions on the Iraqi people.

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