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NEWS 714/8/00 (I am taking over from Colin Rowat as interim news report provider. To the despair of those who want to keep these reports as an archive I am giving items in more or less chronological order, in contradiction to Colin¹s practice of giving them in reverse chronological order Peter Brooke) * Protesters Deride U.N. Sanctions * Pakistan seeks exploration project in Iraq * Iran releasing 728 Iraqi POWs * Saddam lectures Iraqis on virtue * Irish party, Fine Gael, urge dropping sanctions against Iraq * Kuwait launches diplomatic offensive after Saddam's threats * Iran frees 357 Iraqi POWs * Iraq, N. Korea may be building Scud missile plant * Chavez ends Iraq visit, Saddam slams U.S. * Iraq-Syria train service resumes after 19 years * UN names Dutch and Dane as Iraq oil overseers * Wahid visit to Iraq will harm Indonesia's stature, Albright warns * Kuwait occupation head appeals death verdict * Leader of new Iraqi opposition group claims backing of some military chiefs * UN approves limited Iraq oil price period * Western air raid kills civilian, wounds 20 in Iraq * The President of Indonesia Seeks to End Iraq Sanctions * http://washingtonpost.com/cgi bin/gx.cgi/AppLogic+FTContentServer?pagename=wpni/print&articleid=A46459-200 0Aug6 PROTESTERS DERIDE U.N. SANCTIONS By Stephen C. Fehr Washington Post Staff Writer Monday , August 7, 2000 The soggiest people in Washington yesterday were also some of the most devoted: hundreds of protesters marching from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House to rally in the driving rain for an end to the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq. Soaked from head to toe, with only the trees in Lafayette Square to protect him from the rain, Ken Giles of the Jewish Peace Fellowship sought to explain a cause that would bring people out on such a dreary day. "This is an international tragedy that needs to be dealt with," Giles said through claps of thunder. "All sanctions do is hurt the Iraqi people. To allow this human crisis to go on for 10 years is a sin." The Washington rally was one of a few around the world over the weekend to protest the sanctions, imposed by the U.N. Security Council on Aug. 6, 1990, four days after Iraq invaded Kuwait, setting in motion the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The activists--who represent human rights, interfaith and peace organizations--contend that the restrictions cause thousands of malnourished and sick Iraqi children to die while failing to weaken Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "I'm just horrified that the United States--a supposedly loving democracy--is willing to kill these thousands of children to get at a man we haven't got at for 10 years," said Patricia Cullen, of Mount Rainier, huddling futilely under a tree on the saturated, muddy lawn. The demonstrators plan to risk arrest today by sitting down in front of the Treasury Department building and the White House, where sit-ins are prohibited. "We're going to try and say with our bodies that these sanctions must be lifted," said John Dear, executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a New York-based humanitarian group. President Clinton was not at the White House yesterday and the protesters' stand-in was a no show. Martin Sheen, the actor who plays President Josiah Bartlet on NBC's "The West Wing," was to be on hand, said rally organizers, but his flight from Los Angeles was canceled. Sheen is one of a group of entertainers involved in the movement, which also attracted veteran protest singer Pete Seeger, who sang his trademark peace songs. In international shows of support yesterday, four American activists began a three-day fast outside the United Nations offices in Baghdad and a protester partially climbed a 450-foot-high millennium memorial in London. In Los Angeles, religious groups are preparing protests against the sanctions and other causes during next week's Democratic National Convention. At yesterday's Washington rally, Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader was one of several speakers who took aim at Clinton and his secretary of state, Madeleine K. Albright, who have consistently defended the sanctions. She said last week that Saddam Hussein is trying to portray his regime as a victim of sanctions, masking the fact that his country's misery is his fault. "He hopes his people's suffering will worsen so that the pressure for lifting sanctions will heighten and the revenues he needs to rebuild his weapons of mass destruction will once again begin to flow," Albright wrote in an op-ed piece in the Financial Times of London. Hussein has lied to U.N. weapons inspectors and concealed his ability to build weapons of mass destruction, U.S. officials say. Jim Lawson Jr., a Methodist minister from Los Angeles long active in the civil rights movement, took offense yesterday at Albright's comments, saying she was suggesting the anti-sanctions activists were being duped. Scanning the crowd in Lafayette Square, Lawson said: "If she thinks these housewives, clergy and young people are being influenced by Saddam, she's out of her mind. We're here because we know our nation has more to export than bombs and sanctions." In 1996, the Iraqis were allowed to export oil to buy food, medicine and other items, a program that State Department officials say should provide the means to feed the Iraqi people. "The U.N. sanctions have never prohibited or limited the amount of food or medicine Iraq could import," Albright wrote in the op-ed piece. But the program has failed to supply much of the country with adequate health care, water and electricity, the protesters say. "The children of Iraq are not our enemy," Dear said. "They're suffering more from us than the Iraqi government." Agence France-Presse contributed to this report. * http://ogj.pennnet.com/Content/cd_anchor_article/1,1052,OGJ_7_NEWS_SUB_78917 _1,00.html PAKISTAN SEEKS EXPLORATION PROJECT IN IRAQ (Oil and Gas Journal) KARACHI‹Pakistan is seeking to gain a foothold in Iraq's huge oil exploration market, once United Nations sanctions against the country are lifted, and will shortly set up a long-term presence in the oil-rich country. Pakistan applied for a major oil exploration block in Iraq during a recent visit to Baghdad by Pakistan Petroleum Minister Usman Aminuddin. "We have been assured a positive response to our application for oil exploration in Iraq," said an official of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. Pakistan's Oil & Gas Development Co. Ltd. is likely to be allotted a block in the Shiba oil field to explore and develop, he said. At over 100 billion bbl, Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves, he noted. He said Aminuddin and his Iraqi counterpart discussed in detail bilateral cooperation in the field of oil exploration while keeping within the limits of UN economic sanctions on Baghdad. Islamabad and Baghdad would continue to work within the boundaries of the UN Charter, and no violations of the curbs would be made, the official added. Meanwhile, Islamabad has told Tehran that it is ready to facilitate the proposed multibillion dollar Iran-India gas pipeline, which would traverse Pakistan. "Talks are under way between Iran and India over the issue, and we have already conveyed to both sides our readiness to address all their security and financial concerns," the official said. Pakistan stands to benefit from this proposal, as it would collect transit fees if the project were completed. * http://www.southnexus.com/details_news.php?date1=10/08/2000&sequence=24 IRAN RELEASING 728 IRAQI POWS (South Nexus journal of the Karnataka Bank, India) TEHRAN, Aug 10: Iran began on Wednesday to unilaterally free 728 Iraqi Prisoners of War, 12 years after the conflict between the two countries ended, a senior official said. General Abdollah Najafi, the head of Iran's POW committee, told state television some in the group had been freed on Wednesday and the rest would follow on Thursday. A group of the released Iraqis left a prisoner camp in Tehran on Wednesday for Khosravi border point where they will be turned over to Iraqi officials. Najafi said Iran had decided to free the Iraqis out of humanitarian concerns and after talks with the International Committee of the Red Cross . He said the Red Cross had promised to work for the release of Iranians held in Iraq "I hope they reach good results." The ICRC has supervised repatriations of almost 98,000 POWs from both sides since the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988. The fate of thousands of captives is among the thorniest issues hindering the improvement of Iran- Iraq ties. Iran says it has documents showing that more than 3,000 Iranian POWs are being held in Iraq, while Baghdad says that Iran is still holding thousands of its soldiers. The eight-year war cost around a million lives. Najafi said Iran had unilaterally released 12,519 Iraqi prisoners in the past six years and another 7,307 had sought asylum. The ICRC has confirmed that more than 4,600 Iraqi POWs are unwilling to return home and want to be taken in by third countries. Iranian-Iraqi tensions have resurged in recent weeks amid a spate of attacks claimed by Iraq-based Iranian rebels and Iraqi rebels based in Iran. * http://news.24.com/News24/World/Middle_East/0,1113,2-10-35_894643,00.html SADDAM LECTURES IRAQIS ON VIRTUE (News 24 Southern Africa) 08/08/2000 Baghdad - President Saddam Hussein marked the 12th anniversary of the end of Iraq's war with Iran on Tuesday by firing a verbal salvo at Gulf Arab leaders and lecturing Iraqis on the lessons of war. Saddam did not mention Iran even once in a speech carried by Iraqi radio and television to mark Tehran's acceptance of the ceasefire in the 1980-88 war, which cost nearly a million lives. Instead, he lashed out at the leaders of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states for hosting American and other Western military bases since the 1990-91 Gulf conflict over Kuwait. Wearing a dark suit, and with an Iraqi flag to his right and flowers in front of him, Saddam said it was a disgrace that Arab countries were letting US and British planes bomb "the citadel of the Arabs" and maintain a no-fly zone over southern Iraq. "It is they who have sold out their souls and have appointed (the foreigner) to rule over everything that is dear and precious in the values and wealth of their people," he said. "Whatever they find saleable they have sold to the United States and Zionism, thus becoming mere agents getting commissions that are deducted from the wealth of their own people and getting chairs of ignoble authority to sit on." Gulf Arab countries supported Iraq during its war with Islamic Iran, but turned on Saddam when he sent his troops into Kuwait in 1990 after a dispute about oil quotas. Iraq and Iran blame each other for their ruinous war and each sees the outcome as a victory. The two oil-producing giants have still not resumed full diplomatic ties and each continues to support rebel forces seeking to undermine the other. Saddam said he would change the style of his annual address to present "the lessons deduced from honourable fighting...which convey all the meanings of virtue". He listed the gist of 58 "great lessons" ranging from how to treat friends and foes to how to choose your leaders. The lessons included: - Do not provoke a snake before you make up your mind and summon up the ability to cut off its head. - Guard your secrets carefully. Do not divulge them to anyone. - Let not your enemy hope for your forgiveness, nor your friend lose hope of it. - Do not put your friend and your enemy on an equal footing... - When you take a decision, do not regret it. But when you find a mistake in it, do not hesitate to rectify it. - Keep your eyes on your enemy. Be ahead of him but do not let him be far behind your back. - Do not choose as leaders those who claim higher roles for themselves in the success of victory and disclaim their responsibility for failure or defeat. Banners and posters praising Saddam for what Iraqis call the "Great Victory Day" were on display across Baghdad. Guns in Iraq's various provinces were due to fire 101 shots in salute. Iran announced its acceptance of a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire on 8 August 1988 after several setbacks on the battlefront, and the ceasefire went into effect on 20 August. * http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/world/2000/0809/wor10.htm IRISH PARTY, FINE GAEL, URGE DROPPING SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ (Irish Times) By Deaglán de Bréadún, Wednesday, August 9, 2000 IRELAND/IRAQ: Fine Gael in government would "lead the charge" for the dropping of United Nations sanctions against Iraq, the party's foreign affairs spokesman, Mr Jim O'Keeffe, has pledged. "The Americans and their allies won the Gulf War: they are losing the peace with the continuance of these sanctions," he claimed. Welcoming a similar call from the Fianna Fáil MEP Mr Niall Andrews, Mr O'Keeffe added that he had not heard any strong voice from the Government on the issue. "Fine Gael in government will give that lead and we will be pressing the issue at European Union and United Nations level," he said. He urged the Government to speak frankly to the US administration, saying: "The duty of friends is to tell the plain, unvarnished truth to one another. What we should be saying to the Americans is that the sanctions have not worked, insofar as they have not achieved their objective of getting rid of Saddam Hussein." Whatever case there might have been for sanctions after the Gulf War, it was now time to take account of the suffering in Iraq. "I am in favour of a programme of aid to the people of Iraq who have suffered so much from these sanctions and from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein," Mr O'Keeffe said. If implemented, the position outlined by the Fine Gael spokesman would represent a dramatic reversal of Government policy, which has been to support the sanctions while at the same time expressing "deep concern about the suffering of the people of Iraq, especially children". The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Cowen, raised the issue with the US Secretary of State, Ms Madeleine Albright, last March. The Minister pointed out in the Dáil last May that the imposition and administration of the sanctions were primarily a matter for the UN Security Council. "The council continues to impose sanctions on Iraq as a result of that government's refusal to cooperate with the UN Special Commission appointed to verify the dismantling of Iraq's programme to acquire weapons of mass destruction," Mr Cowen said in response to a question from the Labour spokesman, Mr Michael D. Higgins. If the Government succeeds in its current campaign to secure a seat on the Security Council, led by Mr Ahern and Mr Cowen, Ireland will be directly involved in the administration of the sanctions. The vote is expected in late October or early November. Meanwhile, President Saddam has condemned the leaders of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as "traitors" for allowing the US and Britain to launch air-strikes on Iraq from bases in the Gulf. * http://sg.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/world/afp/article.html?s=singapore/ KUWAIT LAUNCHES DIPLOMATIC OFFENSIVE AFTER SADDAM'S THREATS KUWAIT CITY, Aug 9 (AFP), Wednesday, August 9 - Kuwait Wednesday launched a diplomatic offensive in response to threats made by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, summoning foreign ambassadors and protesting to international organisations. The emirate's foreign ministry summoned ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, in addition to Arab and Gulf Cooperation Council envoys to "inform them of the gravity of the situation." In a speech Tuesday Saddam branded Kuwait and Saudi Arabia by implication stooges for the United States and Israel, dubbing their leaders "traitors". Babel newspaper, headed by Saddam's eldest son, Uday, warned on Monday, "If the treacherous leaders in Kuwait need another lesson, we are more than ready to hand one out to them." Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah said the emirate, invaded and occupied for seven months by Iraq 10 years ago, "will take all precautionary measures", the official KUNA news agency reported. Kuwait's acting foreign ministry undersecretary Ahmad al-Fahad had met with the foreign ambassadors and told them Kuwait was taking the threats seriously, Sheikh Sabah said. "The situation should not be taken lightly, and we have to deal with it with every precaution. Fahad explained to the ambassadors Kuwait's stance towards the aggressive speech which threatens our security and stability," he said. Parliament speaker Jassem al-Khorafi, saying the speech "was a threat to Kuwait's security and stability, and aborts Arab reconciliation efforts", called on the Arab Parliamentarians Union to condemn the Iraqi leadership. The emirate also told the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) that Saddam's threats had escalated tension in the region. "We informed NAM and OIC of the serious developments, sparked by the head of the Iraqi regime's speech, which spread tensions in the Arabian Gulf and the whole Middle East," the foreign minister said. In Cairo Arab League chief Esmat Abdel Meguid strongly criticised Saddam's statement, made in a speech to mark the anniversary of the end of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. "I deplore what was said in Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's speech. It was totally unsatisfactory," the League's secretary general told reporters. "He should have looked instead to the future, in order to try to correct the mistakes of the past," he said. Abdel Meguid said he hoped Saddam's comments would not have a "negative effect" on a meeting of the Arab League's ministerial council scheduled for September 3 in Cairo. The press in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday said Saddam's renewed threats against the two Gulf monarchies failed to hide the suffering his regime had caused the Iraqi people. "The Iraqi dictator is still trying to snatch a desperate 'victory' from the jaws of his thumping military and political defeat (in the 1991 Gulf War that followed the Iraqi invasion)," an Arab Times editorial said. "It's no secret that the Gulf region is being hurt by Saddam's continuation in power, but the greatest losers are Iraqi people," the English-language daily said. Saudi paper Al-Nadwa said the "real traitor is the one whose forces invade a brotherly Arab country under the cover of the night, force its people to flee, ransack houses, kill sons and rape women." "Looking at himself in a mirror, he will know that he is the sole and biggest traitor in the Arab world," Al-Nadwa said. The Riyadh-based Al-Madina, for its part, said the fortress of the Arabs (Iraq) of which Saddam talked "had been transformed into a field of ruins thatnks to his political 'wisdom'." "Such words (from Saddam) do not surprise us because he who is at the bottom of the abyss can go down no further," the paper said. * http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=108946 IRAN FREES 357 IRAQI POWS By GHASSAN al-KADI (Virtual New York) BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Iran Thursday released what it said was the last batch of POWs captured during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war. The 357 Iraqi prisoners arrived at dawn at the Iraqi Munzariya borderpoint and were to be reunited with their families. Fahmi al-Qaisi, head of the Iraq-Iran War Victims Committee, however, said more Iraqi POWs remained in Iranian jails. He called on the Iranian authorities to release them. Al-Qaisi dismissed Iran's assurances that the last batch of prisoners hadbeen freed. "This is baseless and untrue," he said. On Wednesday, Iran said that no Iraqi POWs remained in Iran. It said,however, that 7,000 former Iraqi POWs had asked for political asylum in Iran. Iraq insists that Iran still holds 9,000 of its soldiers registered with the International Committee of the Red Cross and has said that it has evidence that some 5,000 others are in Iranian jails. It has accused Iran of "detaining thousands of Iraqi prisoners away from the eyes of the Red Cross" and has held it responsible for the "moral and humanitarian consequences" of delays in releasing them. Iraq has said that it has freed all Iranian POWs. * http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=109191 IRAQ, N. KOREA MAY BE BUILDING SCUD MISSILE PLANT (Virtual New York) WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Intelligence officials fear Iraq may be financing the construction of a Scud missile assembly plant in Sudan that would be run by North Koreans, ABCNEWS.com reported Friday. A U.S. intelligence source confirmed the report, saying the plan to build the facility was first discovered about 11 months ago. While the facility is not complete, the official said it could produce as many as 15 Scuds a month. The concern is that Saddam Hussein may use the plant to rebuild his missile force, taking delivery of the missiles only after the 10-year old United Nations embargo is lifted on Iraq. More worrisome is the possibility that Iraq will use the plant to continue producing the Al Hussein, a ballistic missile capable of delivering conventional, chemical or biological warheads from a distance of 650 kilometers. Prior to the Gulf War, Iraq may have produced as many as 80 such missiles, and may still have as many as 40 left, according to an Iraqi general officer who defected in 1996. Gen. Anthony Zinni, who retired from his post as commander of U.S. Central Command, warned in an interview with CNN Aug. 10 that once sanctions are lifted on Iraq, Saddam Hussein's military machine will "rise from the ashes." "Saddam is not viewed as a threat by those in the region as long as we're enforcing the sanctions," Zinni said. "I think if the sanctions are lifted, he'll come back again. He'll use the opportunity to rebuild his military...And he would rise from the ashes again." The news report says the intelligence community has two separate reports indicating such an arrangement is being considered. U.S. officials are quoted as saying they have not reached a final decision on whether the information is true. They say it could be months before they know for sure. The United States considers all three nations to be potential threats. ABC says Iraq may have paid as much as $400 million to build the plant in Sudan. The two countries have had a long history of arms dealings with each other. It is not clear why Iraq would seek a relationship with North Korea, although U.S. intelligence sources speculated it may be simply a matter of economics: North Korea may be abandoning its missile program in order to curry favor with the United States and win international aid. However, North Korea has expertise and missile components that would be worth a great deal to Iraq. Pressed for currency, North Korea could trade its services for much-needed cash. There was no immediate response to the report from Iraq, Sudan and North Korea. * http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/reuters20000811_1389.html CHAVEZ ENDS IRAQ VISIT, SADDAM SLAMS U.S. BAGHDAD, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ended a visit to Iraq on Friday after talks with President Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, the first meeting of a head of state with the Iraqi leader since the 1991 Gulf War. Chavez¹s visit came under fire from the United States, which still tries to keep Saddam isolated a decade after his forces invaded Kuwait and ignited the Gulf conflict. The official Iraqi News Agency (INA) said on Friday that during the meeting on Thursday night, Saddam denounced Washington for criticising Chavez and for exerting pressure on some OPEC member states to affect the organisation¹s policies. "Have you seen the extent of the American ugliness? They tell a sovereign and independent state why are you visiting a sovereign and independent state," INA quoted Saddam as telling Chavez. "From this you can imagine the pressures that exerted on some member states of the organisation to say yes to this and no to that," Saddam said. "The most important thing that we all could do is cooperate among ourselves, but regrettably the big powers who have selfish interests can still have influence here and there and use states to achieve part of their interests." INA said Saddam accepted Chavez¹s invitation to attend an OPEC summit in Caracas next month, but diplomatic sources said he was expected to send an envoy. Chavez told a news conference in Baghdad that he had fruitful talks with Saddam on the future role of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and on defending reasonable oil prices as well as bilateral cooperation. He said he was received warmly by Saddam who "honoured" him by driving him around Baghdad. "I extend my deep gratitude to him for the warm welcome he gave us," Chavez said. "We are very happy to be in Baghdad, to smell the scent of history and to walk on the bank of the Tigris river," Chavez said through an interpreter. Chavez said he found the Iraqi leader well versed in OPEC matters and defended his trip against U.S. criticism. "We regret and denounce the interference in our internal affairs. We do not and will not accept it," he said. Witnesses said Chavez left Iraq the same way he arrived, overland to Iran at the Monthuriyah border post, 180 km (115 miles) northeast of Baghdad. Chavez¹s visit is part of a tour of all fellow OPEC states to promote the cartel¹s first summit in 25 years in Caracas on September 27-29 and to discuss OPEC production levels amid bullish world oil prices. He said the results of his tour so far had been "absolutely positive" and hoped the Caracas summit would open a new chapter in OPEC¹s 40-year history. On his arrival at Monthuriyah on Thursday, the Venezuelan leader was flown to Baghdad international airport by a military helicopter for a red-carpet reception by Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council Izzat Ibrahim. Baghdad¹s international airport has not been used since the United Nations imposed stringent sanctions on Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990. The Venezuelan president, accompanied by his Energy Minister and OPEC chief Ali Rodriguez, has already been this week to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Iran. Iraq is exporting around 2.5 million barrels a day of crude as part of an oil-for-food programme agreed with the United Nations. The programme aims to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people, hit by 11 years of strict economic sanctions. * http://www.clarinet.com/hot/wed/bw/Qiraq-syria-transport.RHQe_AaB.html IRAQ-SYRIA TRAIN SERVICE RESUMES AFTER 19 YEARS (Agence France Presse) BAGHDAD, Aug 11 - Train services between Iraq and Syria resumed Friday for the first time since 1981, the official INA news agency said. The train left the northern Iraqi city of Mosul at 6:00 p.m. (1400 GMT) Friday bound for the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, the agency said. The air-conditioned train and its 30 "Arab and other" passengers were seen off by Transport and Communications Minister Ahmad Murtada, INA said. Murtada said he hoped a second Iraqi-Syrian rail link would be set up. The 14-hour, 520-kilometer (323-mile) journey will be made once a week for now, with a return trip from Aleppo, said the Iraqi rail company. A one-way ticket costs 10,000 dinars (five dollars), said the company's president, Ghassan Abdelrazzak al-Ani. The railroad linking Mosul and Aleppo was built in 1940, but the train service was halted in 1981 after ties were severed because Syria backed Iran in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. Iraq and Syria, which are governed by rival branches of the Baath Party, began normalizing ties in 1997 by opening their border to business and government officials. On July 22, they signed an agreement on rail services. Nothing in the UN sanctions against Iraq bars rail services to another country. * http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT4TSTTXSBC&liv e=true&useoverridetemplate=ZZZFKOXOA0C&tagid=ZZZCWHK1B0C&reuters=true UN NAMES DUTCH AND DANE AS IRAQ OIL OVERSEERS (Financial Times) 12 Aug 2000 NEW YORK, Aug 11 (Reuters) - The United Nations' two new oil market advisors, or overseers, in the Iraq oil-for-food programme, will come from the Netherlands and Denmark, U.N. diplomats said on Friday. In a letter to the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan named Michel Tellings of the Netherlands and Morten Buur-Jensen of Denmark to join Russian Alexander Kramar as oil overseers. A row between China and other Security Council members regarding the nationalities of replacement overseers has kept the United Nations from naming new ones, and for the past 13 months, Kramar has been the lone overseer. The naming of the two men is a compromise solution that overcomes a demand by China that the next overseer be one of its nationals. Therefore, the United Nations sought to name members not from the permanent five nations on the Security Council, which are the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain. Early in the oil programme, there were four overseers, from the United States, France, Norway and Kramar from Russia. One by one they resigned, except for Kramar, for personal reasons. The United Nations sought to diversify the nationalities of the overseers by inviting applicants from such developing nations with oil industries, such as Indonesia, Nigeria, and Venezuela. However, according to a Middle Eastern diplomat, applicants from these nations either took their names out of consideration or weren't offered the jobs. The overseers advise the Security Council's Iraqi sanctions committee on matters related to the world oil market, such as pricing of Iraq's crude oil. Each of the new overseers worked for oil major Royal Dutch/Shell , the United Nations said. Tellings, 50, until 1999 worked with government crude oil acquisitions for Shell International Trading and Shipping Co., as well as trading crude oil and refined products for Shell. Buur-Jensen, 32, is an oil products trader and supply analyst for Shell Australia, a unit of Royal Dutch/Shell. He will not however be available for U.N. service until October. The oil-for-food programme allows Iraq to sell oil despite being under U.N. sanctions because of its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. First oil sales in the programme were made December 1996, and Iraq is currently exporting an average of 2.2 million barrels per day. * http://www.clarinet.com/hot/wed/ao/Qus-indonesia-iraq.Rr3N_AaD.html WAHID VISIT TO IRAQ WILL HARM INDONESIA'S STATURE, ALBRIGHT WARNS (Agence France Presse) Story by Matthew Lee SANTA FE, New Mexico, Aug 12 - Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid will harm his country's stature if he follows through on plans to visit Iraq this year, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Saturday. Albright said such a trip would be inappropriate and ill-advised and urged Wahid to heed Washington's advice, which was pointedly ignored by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez when he traveled to Baghdad on Thursday and Friday. "It's not up to me to tell Wahid what to do, I think, however, it does not enhance the stature of any country to go there," Albright told AFP in an interview here after the annual US-Mexico-Canada foreign ministers' meeting. "I think it would be very useful (for the Indonesian leader to listen to US advice), President Wahid has a great deal to do in Indonesia," she said. "We obviously give advice, other countries give us advice, if countries don't want to take it, that's their problem," Albright said, cataloguing the reasons why visiting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was a bad idea. "I don't believe that countries gain in stature by going to visit the head of a state who has invaded a neighboring country, who has gassed his own people, who has tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction and who has not returned Kuwait property or made an accounting of Kuwaiti prisoners of war." "I don't think that that improves the standing of any country," she said. Earlier Saturday, Wahid said he would visit Iraq in the coming months, telling reporters that like Chavez, who became the first head of state to meet the Iraqi president since the Gulf War in 1991, he would not be bowed by US objections to the trip. "I will visit Baghdad at the end of the summer," Wahid said at a joint press conference with Chavez, who arrived in Jakarta Saturday as part of a tour of OPEC nations. The United States, through its third-highest ranking diplomat, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering, had already asked Wahid not to visit Iraq or other countries Washington regards as state sponsors of terrorism, but the Indonesian leader rejected the request. "We are not a lackey of the US," Wahid said after Pickering made his comments. "We are free to go anywhere." That reaction is similar to the feeling expressed by Chavez when Washington advised him not to travel to Iraq early last week. Albright said she was unimpressed with countries that pursued controversial activities for the sake of standing up to Washington. "Doing something to spite the United States is not exactly great policy," Albright said, adding that she was "surprised" Chavez had gone ahead with the visit. "What we're trying to do is show that Saddam Hussein is not the kind of leader who has earned the respect of other leaders," she said. "I'm surprised that President Chavez wanted to have the dubious honor of being the first leader to go to Baghdad" since the Gulf War, Albright said, adding that she was mystified why any leader would want to meet with Saddam. "We did not make up Saddam Hussein," she said. "Saddam Hussein ten years ago did something that the international community as a whole finds unacceptable. "It's very hard for me to determine what their motivations are," she said of Chavez and Wahid. * http://www.gulf-news.co.ae/07082000/GULF/gulf4.htm KUWAIT OCCUPATION HEAD APPEALS DEATH VERDICT (Gulf News) Kuwait (Reuters) - The former head of Iraq's puppet occupation government in Kuwait, Alaa Hussein, yesterday appealed against his death sentence in a final bid to escape possible execution for treason, his lawyer said. "We have filed an appeal before a higher court, three days ahead of the deadline, to demand Alaa Hussein's acquittal ... and I am sure that the court will accept the appeal," Nawaf al-Mutairi, a member of Hussein's defence team told Reuters. Last month, a Kuwaiti court upheld a death sentence against Hussein, who returned from self imposed exile in Norway in January believing he would be pardoned. Hussein said that the Kuwaiti government had promised him a pardon if he returned home - a claim that the government denied during his trial. In May, Kuwait's criminal court rejected an attempt by Hussein to reverse a death sentence passed against him in absentia in 1993 for treason and cooperating with Baghdad. Sunday's appeal to the supreme court was Hussein's last chance to have the death sentence reversed. Executions in Kuwait must be ratified by the country's ruler, Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, before they are carried out. Hussein has insisted on his innocence, saying Iraq forced him to lead a puppet regime. His so called ministers were all pardoned when they appeared in court in Kuwait after the Gulf War, but he was sentenced to death in absentia. * http://www.clarinet.com/hot/wed/dc/Qiraq-opposition-army.RoNF_AaC.html LEADER OF NEW IRAQI OPPOSITION GROUP CLAIMS BACKING OF SOME MILITARY CHIEFS (Agence France Presse) KUWAIT CITY, Aug 12 - The leader of the Iraq Salvation Army, a new opposition group aimed at toppling President Saddam Hussein, has claimed the backing of a number of military commanders in Iraq, a Kuwaiti daily reported Saturday. "We have received indirect communications affirming the support of officers of a section in the military establishment in Iraq," Major-General Fawzi Hameed al-Shimmari told Al-Rai Al-Aaam newspaper. "Although we exist outside Iraq, we are also present inside, even in the presidential palace," said Shimmari, who announced his new group from Washington last week. He said the group's strategy is based on "combining military and political action" and will "focus on establishing a leadership capable of toppling Saddam, to be active inside Iraq." Shimmari, who fled Iraq in 1986 while on a business trip to India, appealed to "neighbouring countries, especially Kuwait, to cooperate in getting rid of the regime. "We will work to revolutionize Iraq ... We will operate throughout the country and establish a bridge between the inside and outside," Shimmari said. There are several groups opposed to Saddam, mostly operating outside Iraq with the backing of the US and other Western powers. Only the Tehran-based Shiite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq has some confirmed presence in the country. * http://www.brecorder.com/story/S00DD/SDH12/SDH12107.htm UN APPROVES LIMITED IRAQ OIL PRICE PERIOD (Business Recorder) LONDON (August 12) : The United Nations has approved a request by Iraq to restrict its revised August Kirkuk and Basrah Light crude oil prices for European destinations to the August 10-19 period, a UN official said on Friday. For Europe-bound Iraqi crude oil shipments from August 20, state oil marketer SOMO will either submit new prices or keep the current levels in place, said a UN diplomat familiar with the oil-for food programme. Baghdad's latest adjustment has not gone down especially well with all of its lifters. "It seems SOMO is trying to be more responsive to the price of Urals," said one lifter of Iraqi barrels. "But all of these quick changes on prices and pricing periods are causing havoc with our programmes." And numerous recent adjustments to the prices are causing concern for some UN Security Council members, particularly the United States. US diplomats have asked for a session of the UN Security Council's Iraq sanctions committee on the matter. Since the oil-for-food programme began in December 1996, Iraq has submitted monthly changes for pricing of its Kirkuk and Basrah Light crude oil. Until June of this year, few if any adjustments were made to the monthly prices once they had been approved by the sanctions committee, said a European diplomat. Since June 1, there have been eight adjustments to approved prices, each at the request of SOMO and approved by oil sale overseer Alexander Kramar of Russia. They include two changes for June, four changes for July and thus far two changes for August pricing. A US official said he hoped the appointment Thursday of two new oil overseers to join Kramar would alleviate the situation. While there is concern about the many changes, the US official has been told by oil industry experts they are justified by the volatility of international oil markets. Those gyrations have in fact led SOMO to examine its pricing methodology. "We have a problem with the movement of the differential," Ali Hassan, a senior SOMO official said at a recent conference on Iraq. "The present pricing method has to be looked at." The differential on Russian Urals crude, the Mediterranean's sour benchmark, has swung widely - moving from an historic low discount of more than $5 against North Sea Dated Brent early last month to current levels of around Dated Brent -$1.50. Fluctuations in the price of rival Russian Urals crude led Iraq earlier this month to adjust its European Kirkuk price to Dated Brent -$4.20 for August 10-31. Basrah Light to Europe was amended to Dated Brent -$4.70 for August 10-31. Those prices are now restricted to August 10-19.-Reuters * http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000812/wl/iraq_raid_dc_1.html WESTERN AIR RAID KILLS CIVILIAN, WOUNDS 20 IN IRAQ SAMAWA, Iraq (Reuters, August 12, 2000) - U.S. and British planes bombed a civilian government warehouse in southern Iraq overnight, killing one civilian and wounding 20, Iraqi witnesses said on Saturday. A Reuters photographer said the raid struck a warehouse of the housing and construction ministry containing building material in Samawa, 175 miles south of Baghdad. He said part of the warehouse was destroyed while nearby houses were badly damaged. There were no Iraqi military units in the area but the photographer reported U.S. or British planes flying over the site some 16 hours after the strike. Local officials said one person died and 20 were wounded, including one person in serious condition. A resident said the planes struck at 11 p.m. on Friday, firing around a dozen rockets. There was no immediate comment from London or Washington on the raid, the first on Iraq in six weeks. U.S. and British planes patrol no-fly zones over southern and northern Iraq set up after the 1991 Gulf War. The zones, which Baghdad 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 government forces. The planes have been bombing targets in the zones frequently since Baghdad stepped up its defiance of the Western-imposed restrictions in December 1998. Iraq says around 300 civilians have been killed and 900 wounded in these attacks. Iraq criticized fellow Arab states Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on Saturday for housing the planes that patrol the southern no-fly zone. * http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/asia/081300indo-iraq.html THE PRESIDENT OF INDONESIA SEEKS TO END IRAQ SANCTIONS (New York Times) By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, August 13, 2000 JAKARTA, Indonesia, Aug. 12 -- Indonesia's president called today for international sanctions against Iraq to be lifted as Venezuela's president visited here after a trip to Baghdad. President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, who has been visiting petroleum-producing countries in advance of an OPEC meeting in Venezuela, said the United Nations sanctions against Iraq that have been in place since the war in the Persian Gulf were an injustice and were causing intense misery to that nation's children. Mr. Chávez's visit to Iraq was the first by a head of state since the 1991 gulf war. President Abdurrahman Wahid of Indonesia said after meeting with Mr. Chávez at the presidential palace in Jakarta that he would visit Baghdad in the coming months and wanted sanctions against Iraq terminated. "I share President Chávez's sentiments about the Iraqi people," he said. "Because of that, Indonesia would like to see the blockade on Iraq to be lifted soon." Unicef says the number of infant and child deaths in Iraq has doubled in the decade since the sanctions began, but it said some of the suffering is attributable to Iraq's actions, not the sanctions. Nevertheless, criticism has been growing of the strict trade sanctions that the United Nations says will be in place until Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction. Iraq is permitted to sell some of its oil and use the proceeds for food, medicine and other civilian needs. On Thursday, Mr. Chávez met with President Saddam Hussein during a brief visit to Baghdad. The trip raised the ire of the United States and Britain -- the primary backers of the sanctions -- which said they were concerned about giving the Iraqi president credibility. Mr. Chavez plans a meeting of OPEC countries on Sept. 27 in Venezuela, the first such meeting since 1975. He said he invited Mr. Hussein to attend the meeting but that the offer was declined "for reasons that are obvious to everyone." He said Mr. Wahid had also been invited and had accepted. Mr. Chávez is also seeking backing for maintaining the current price of oil, which he says, contrary to the United States' view, is not too high. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi