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News, 8-15/10/00

NEWS, 8­15/10/00

I have not included any items directly on the current Israeli/Palestinian
confrontation, despite its obvious relevance.  I have a couple of pieces
related to the attack on the US gunship in Aden in the Supplement because
the ship was policing sanctions (I am unpleasantly surprised to note that
the Yemeni authorities would allow a US gunboat patrolling the Gulf to
refuel in Aden). The hijack of the Saudi plane occurred just as I thought my
labours were finished and I have included three items, the last finishing on
an ungracious note from Mr Cook.

Otherwise the main thrust of the news has been continued long overdue Arab
solidarity flights to Iraq; Turkey joining in for what seems rather
frivolous reasons; and Iraq converting from the dollar to the euro (a
comment on this, downplaying its importance, is in the Supplement) ‹ PB

*  Syrian plane lands in Baghdad after 18 years
*  Saddam Chairs Meeting on Palestine Issue
*  Turkish Plane in Iraq on Humanitarian Mission
*  Iraq and Ukraine sign minutes of joint cooperation
*  Iraq donates 5 million euros to Palestinians
*  Iraq Willing to Do Business With Kuwaiti Companies
*  Iraqi oil will flow through Syrian territories
*  Iraq to attend Arab summit
*  Lebanon seeks Jordan-type oil deal with Iraq
*  Syria to send second plane to Iraq
*  Turkey To Operate Iraqi Pipeline
*  U.S. congress members support goals of Iranian resistance
*  Iraq says wants euro oil payments from Nov
*  Iraq wins opening Asian Cup match
*  Turkey work on Iraq pipeline must be UN-approved
*  Iran Foreign Minister visits Baghdad
*  [Egypt] signing a contract for exporting food products to Iraq of 100
million L.E
*  Four solidarity flights land in Iraq despite UN air embargo
*  Passengers Freed on Saudi Plane
*  Hijackers: Saudi Gov't Is Corrupt
*  Hijack victims prepare to leave Iraq

NEWS SUPPLEMENT (sent separately), 8­15/10/00

*  Poll shows sanctions helped grease Milosevic's downfall [comparison
between the apparent success of sanctions in achieving US war aims in Serbia
and the lack of success in Iraq]
*  Don't Fear Saddam [by Jim Hoagland, recommending tough action of some
unspecified sort]
*  Saddam gets bolder as U.N. sanctions get weaker By Eli J. Lake [Is the
sanctions regime unravelling?]
*  Six dead in apparent terror attack on U.S. Navy ship in Yemen [though the
figure of six is out of date this gives quite a good account of the
*  US closes African embassies
*  Petro-euro likely to remain a pipe-dream
*  Oil Experts Say Third 'Predictable' Personality [Guess who?] Could Shape
Presidential Election, Send Gas Prices Skyrocketing And Fuel
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
*  Persian Gulf, U.S. Danger Zone [account of US deployment in the Gulf]


BAGHDAD: A Syrian plane with senior government officials, doctors, nurses
and humanitarian aid on board landed in Baghdad on Sunday, the first such
flight in more than 18 years.

"We are Arabs... and we are here to show our support to our brothers in
Iraq," said Syrian Cabinet Minister Mohammed Mufdhi Sevo, who led the
delegation which included doctors, nurses and representatives of unions and
the media.

The Airbus-320 also carried 10 tons of medical and humanitarian supplies. It
was received by Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh and Transportation
and Communications Minister Ahmed Murtada Ahmed.

The flight is believed to have received clearance from the United Nations.
It comes two weeks after France and Russia first challenged the 10-year old
sanctions by flying planes to Baghdad without authorization from the U.N.
sanctions committee.

Since then there have also been flights from Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia,
Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Algeria, all of which had received
approval. Egyptian, Lebanese and Turkish groups have also announced plans to
send planes to Baghdad in coming days.

The flight is also a sign that relations between Iraq and Syria, ruled by
rival factions of the Arab nationalist Baath Party, are continuing to thaw.
Last week, Syria called for an end to U.N. sanctions against Iraq and trade
and transportation links between the two states have recently been

Relations between the two countries began improving in 1997 after a 17-year
break in diplomatic ties during which Syria sided with non-Arab Iran against
Iraq in their 1980-88 war and fought with the U.S.-led coalition forces
against Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War to liberate Kuwait.

Iraq's state-controlled newspapers have celebrated the flights as a sign
that the sanctions' regime is crumbling, but U.N. sanctions committee
chairman, Dutch ambassador to the United Nations Peter van Walsum, has said
Baghdad would be making a "tragic mistake" if it thought that sanctions
would disappear without allowing weapons inspections to resume.


(People's Daily, 9/10/00)

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on Sunday convened a meeting on the recent
violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the Palestinian

Izzat Ibrahim, vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Iraq's
top decision-making body, Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan and Foreign
Minister Mohammad Said Al-Sahaf attended the meeting, the official Iraqi
News Agency (INA) reported.

The meeting discussed the Palestine issue and the threats posed to Syria,
Lebanon and the Palestinian people by Israel, the INA said, without giving
any detail.

Iraq in recent days has repeatedly condemned Israel for its "butchery"
against the Palestinians, and has called for a Muslim holy war for the
"liberation of Palestine" following the bloody clashes in the Palestinian
territories and Israel.

At least four large-scale demonstrations have been held in Baghdad to
protest against the "Israeli crimes" against the Palestinians.

The wave of clashes, the worst in four years, have left over 80 people,
mostly Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, killed and more than 2,000 others

The United States, a major ally of Israel, has kept a close eye on Iraq,
which has been under a crippling U.N. sanctions since its 1990 invasion of

In a televised interview on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright warned Iraq not to threaten its neighbors or its own people.

Paul Mikolashek, commander of the Third U.S. Army and U.S. Armed Forces
Central Command, stressed on September 20 that all necessary military
precautions have been taken to foil any new Iraqi threat to the security of
Kuwait and the region.

(People's Daily, 9/10/00)

Turkey on Monday sent a small plane to Iraq on a humanitarian mission to the
United Nations sanctions-hit country.

The private plane, carrying a seven-member delegation as well as medicine
and medical equipment, touched down at the Saddam International Airport at
10:25 (0725 GMT). This was the first flight from Turkey to Iraq in 10 years.

Lotfi Dugan, head of the delegation which included doctors and businessmen,
told reporters at the airport that the flight has got the support of the
Turkish government and the approval of the U.N. Sanctions Committee.

He called on all Arab countries to fly planes to Iraq to show solidarity.

Turkey was following the lead of Russia, France and a number of Arab states
who have launched humanitarian flights to Iraq over the past weeks. Ankara
also turned a green light to Russian flights to Iraq through its airspace.

Turkey has taken steady steps to improve its relations with neighboring
Iraq. Ankara announced in July that it will upgrade its level of
representation in Baghdad from the post-Gulf War charge d'affaires to

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom, Oct 9, 2000

Baghdad, 9th October: Iraq and Ukraine signed minutes of joint cooperation
today. The minutes were signed for Iraq by Hikmat al-Azzawi, deputy prime
minister and minister of finance, and for Ukraine by First Deputy Prime
Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov...
The minutes included cooperation in economic, trade, oil, agricultural and
other fields, as well as the formation of the Iraqi-Ukrainian committee.
Source: INA news agency web site, Baghdad, in Arabic 9 Oct 00 /BBC


BAGHDAD (October 10) : President Saddam Hussein donated five million euros
($4.34 million) to support Palestinian clashes with Israel and opened
training camps for Iraqis volunteering to fight the Israelis, newspapers
said on Monday.

"The President decided to donate five million euros to Palestinian martyrs
and to support the (Palestinian) uprising," the ruling Baath Party newspaper
al-Thawra said, quoting a meeting of top Iraqi officials chaired by Saddam
late on Sunday.

It also said Saddam ordered that military training camps open "for
volunteers willing to launch jihad (holy war) to liberate Palestine".

Saddam instructed the Iraqi Health Ministry to send medical teams and
supplies to treat wounded Palestinians and said that Iraq was ready to
receive and treat the injured.

At least 84 people have been killed, most of them Palestinians, and many
more injured in 11 days of clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in the
West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel itself.

The Iraqi president had earlier ordered his cabinet to name a school and
street in Baghdad after Mohammed Durra, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy shot
dead in Gaza by Israeli soldiers in a televised killing that shocked the

On Tuesday, he had said his country was ready to "put an end to Zionism" if
other Arab rulers did not defend the Palestinians. And on Saturday, Baghdad
urged Arab countries to cut ties with Israel and the United States and
called for a "holy war" ...  .-Reuters

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

In a rare friendly move, Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammad Mehdi Salah said that
Iraq is willing to do business with Kuwaiti companies within the framework
of the United Nations oil-for-food program, local media reported Monday.

During a recent session of the Iraqi National Assembly (parliament), Salah
said that there are no restrictions for Kuwaiti companies if they present
requests to the Iraqi authorities to export goods to the U.N. sanctions-hit
country under the oil-for-food program, the reports said.

The program allows Iraq to sell crude in return for vital imports of basic
humanitarian supplies such as food and medicine.

Iraq gives priority to developing trade ties with Arab countries, Salah
said, adding that the trade volume between Iraq and other Arab countries
makes up more than 45 percent of its total foreign trade dealings.

This has been regarded as a friendly gesture by Iraq to try to soothe the
rising tension between Iraq and Kuwait, which was briefly occupied by Iraqi
forces in 1990.

Tensions have mounted between the two neighbors recently after the two
accused each other of stealing oil along their borders, with Iraq
threatening to take "necessary" measures against its tiny neighbor.

Kuwait has reacted strongly and accused Iraq of trying to trigger a new
regional war, referring to similar grievance from Iraq that led to Iraq's
invasion of Kuwait 10 years ago.

Moreover, Iraq has repeatedly condemned Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as "full
culprits" by collaborating with the U.S. and Britain to attack Iraq because
the two countries host U.S. and British warplanes enforcing the no-fly zones
over southern and northern Iraq.

Iraq has never recognized the no-fly zones imposed by the U.S.-led Western
troops in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War. Free!

Iraq, Economics, 10/10/2000

The Jordanian weekly al-Majd said in its Monday issue that the Iraqi oil
will flow in the pipeline which passes through the Syrian territories before
the end of the current month.

The paper said quoting well-informed sources that the process of resuming
the Iraqi oil through Syria will actually contribute to weaken the sanctions
imposed on Iraq and increasing closeness between Damascus and Baghdad.

The circles said that Iraq at the meantime has based its attitude on the
differences among the UN Security Council member state ( some are with
lifting the ambargo and some are not ) and the Syrian position in backing
Iraq, noting in this regard the quick visit made by Tareq Aziz to Damascus
to convince Syria to resume full relations with Baghdad.


 BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Iraqi newspapers said Tuesday that Iraq has
agreed to attend an Arab summit in Cairo, Egypt, later this month, but
criticized Arab leaders for not holding the meeting to discuss the ongoing
Middle East crisis sooner.

 The papers reported that President Saddam Hussein said in a letter to
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who called for the Arab summit in Cairo on
Oct. 21-22, that he would not be able to attend the gathering, but would
send a representative.

 In the letter, Hussein said that though he would love to attend, he could

 "I apologize for circumstances of which you are aware," he said. "However,
someone will represent me there, God willing."

 He was referring to efforts to arrest Hussein and have him indicted by an
international tribunal.

 This is the first time Iraq will be participating in an Arab summit since
1990 when Arab leaders met in a hastily convened meeting to condemn Iraq's
invasion of Kuwait. At the time, the leaders backed Western military
deployment in the region to end the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait.

 Iraq was not invited to the 1996 Arab summit that was held in Cairo to
discuss the Arab-Israeli peace process after the Israeli election of former
right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 Arabs have been reluctant to convene such a high-level gathering due to
differences over whether to invite Iraq because of opposition to that
country from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. But Kuwait agreed to attend this
month's summit, saying that a unified Arab position on the "Israeli massacre
of Palestinians" was a priority for the emirate.

 Hussein was also quoted in his letter to Mubarak as cruising the delay in
holding the "urgent" summit, saying that the Arab leaders "responsible for
the delay in holding the summit will be questioned by the Palestinian people
and nation over the delay in their efforts."

 He added: "If I put myself in the place of the citizen, I would probably
say that I was imagining or waiting for you to decide on an immediate date
rather than wait 20 days."


BAGHDAD (October 11) : Lebanon is seeking to clinch an oil agreement with
Iraq similar to that between Iraq and Jordan, to provide Beirut with crude
and oil products, the official INA news agency reported on Tuesday.

"Lebanon wants to sign with Iraq an oil agreement similar to that Baghdad
had reached with Amman to meet Lebanon's needs for crude oil and
by-products," it quoted visiting Lebanese Minister of Oil, Electricity and
Water Resources Minister Suleman Traboulsi as saying.

The agency said Traboulsi, who arrived in Baghdad on Monday, held talks with
Iraq's Oil Minister Amir Muhammad Rasheed on "future formulas of oil
co-operation and the possibility of signing an oil protocol."

"Talks with Iraq's Oil Minister were frank and clear... we discussed means
to upgrade oil co operation between the two countries," Traboulsi said.

Sanctions-hit Iraq supplies Jordan with 4.8 million tonnes of crude oil and
by-products annually under undisclosed concessionary terms that ease the
burden on the kingdom's deficit-ridden budget.

Iraq's oil supplies to Jordan are exempted from United Nations sanctions
which ban Baghdad from freely exporting its oil as punishment for its 1990
invasion of Kuwait.

In 1996, the UN eased sanctions imposed on Iraq, allowing it oil sales over
six months on a renewable basis to buy food, medicine and other relief items
for its population.

Relations between Iraq and Lebanon were re-established in 1998. Lebanon cut
diplomatic ties with Iraq in 1994 after accusing Baghdad of killing an Iraqi
opposition figure in Beirut.-Reuters


Damascus (Reuters) - Syria will send its second plane in three days to
Baghdad today, carrying aid to Iraq despite UN sanctions, officials said
yesterday. They told Reuters the plane's cargo would include school books,
pens and exercise books donated by branches of the Arab Teachers Union.

"We were originally planning to send this stuff by road to Iraq, but when
Syrian President Bashar Assad heard about the move he ordered the state-run
Syrian Air to provide us with a special plane," a union spokesman told

He said an official delegation, including representatives of Syria and
several other Arab countries would also be aboard.

Syria on Sunday sent its first plane to Baghdad in two decades in a further
sign of improvement in ties between the two Arab neighbours following years
of animosity. Several Arab and international planes have flown to Iraq in
recent weeks despite sanctions imposed for the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Syria and Iraq, ruled by rival factions of the Baath Party, started to
improve relations three years ago following nearly two decades of animosity
caused by disagreements over Iraq's 1980-1988 war with Iran and the invasion
of Kuwait.

The two exchanged diplomatic representation recently, sending envoys to work
at new interest sections at the Algerian embassies in both capitals.
Officials said the Damascus office of the Iraqi airline would also reopen
later this month, nearly two decades after it was shut.

The Associated Press, Wed 11 Oct 2000

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) ‹ Turkey is preparing to begin pumping full-force from
an Iraqi oil pipeline to retaliate against a proposed U.S. resolution that
describes the Turkish killings of Armenians during and after World War I as
genocide, an official said Wednesday.

In accordance with United Nations sanctions against Iraq for its 1990
invasion of Kuwait, Turkey has only been pumping limited oil from the
pipeline, which runs from the Iraqi oil fields in Kirkuk to Turkey's
Mediterranean port of Yumurtalik. Iraq can use the money from those sales to
buy much needed food and medicine.

But now Turkey is angry over a nonbinding resolution the U.S. House of
Representatives is considering. It would place the Turkish government on
record as saying that the Ottoman Empire killed 1.5 million Armenians
between 1915 and 1923, when the Turkish republic was established.

Turkey admits that Armenians were killed, but says the killings were not
part of a planned genocide. It also says the death toll was much lower and
that the Armenians were killed as the empire quelled unrest.

Turkey has warned that U.S. recognition of the killings as genocide would
harm relations between the close NATO allies.

A team of experts was headed for Iraq for inspections, but it was not clear
when the pipeline would be ready to operate.

Turkey's move is likely to annoy the United States, which has been pressing
for stricter enforcement of the U.N. embargo against Iraq.

Turkey has threatened other retaliatory measures, including not renewing the
mandate of U.S. forces patrolling northern Iraq. Reports have suggested that
Turkey would open a second border gate with Iraq to resume trade relations.
And a second Turkish plane carrying medical aid to Iraq left Turkey on

Turkey has long complained that it has lost billions of dollars in trade
with Iraq since sanctions were imposed a decade ago. Last week Turkey
stopped issuing tourist visas to Armenians trying to cross the border
between the two countries.

October 11, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A majority of House members, both Democrats and
Republicans, issued an unusual "Statement of Iranian Policy" Wednesday,
lauding the goals of an exiled opposition movement the State Department
links to terrorism.

Calling for a "firm policy against the Tehran regime," the members called
for the U.S. government to align itself with the goals of the National
Council of Resistance.

The State Department lists the council as an alias for the Iraq-based
Mujahedeen Khalq, which is considered a terrorist organization seeking the
forceful overthrow of Iran's Islamic government.

Soona Samsami, U.S. representative of the council, lauded the congressional
action, saying a revolution is underway in Iran to overthrow the government
led by President Mohammad Khatami, which Western governments view as more
moderate than the ruling Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The congressional policy statement views Khatami and Khamenei as closely

"Any talk of political openness or moderation is ill-advised," said the
policy statement, citing suppression of student demonstrators, the
closed-door trial of Iranian Jews and terrorist assault on dissidents abroad
under Khatami.

"It is only our support for the Iranian people's aspirations for fundamental
change and the democratic goals of the National Council of Resistance that
can contribute to the promotion of peace, human rights and stability in this
part of the world," the House members said.

The statement was signed by 228 members, about evenly divided between
Democrats and Repubicans and including both liberals and conservatives.

By Peg Mackey, October 12, 2000

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - OPEC member Iraq wants customers lifting its
U.N.-supervised crude oil exports to pay in euros starting in November, an
oil official said on Thursday.

Baghdad, which accounts for five percent of internationally traded crude, is
consulting the United Nations about the possiblility of making the switch
from dollar payments, the official added by telephone.

``Iraq this month has asked the U.N. to open another separate euro account
in addition to the present dollar account,'' the official contacted in
Baghdad said.

``From November all letters of credit for the exports must be opened in
euros and payment made in euros,'' the official said.

A Western diplomat said he did not anticipate any objections to the setting
up of a euro account for Iraq, whose revenues from an oil-for-food deal with
the United Nations are deposited in a dollar U.N. escrow account in a French
bank in New York.

``If it's just a case of setting up a new account, I don't see why there
would be a problem,'' he said.

A major lifter of Iraqi crude oil said the potential euro payment switch
``shouldn't create a problem for anyone. They will just have to define the
conversion rate.''

The Iraqi oil official said he knew nothing about any plan to halt oil
exports if the United Nations declined to cooperate.

Abdulillah Putrus, deputy governor of the Iraqi Central Bank, was quoted by
the weekly al-Zawra as saying Baghdad might halt oil exports unless a bank
account holding its U.N.- monitored revenues was changed from dollars into

The reported statement runs counter to an announcement by Iraqi
Vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan at an OPEC summit in Caracas on September
28 that Baghdad would not hold back its crude from the world oil market.

Asked what would happen if the United Nations declined to arrange euro
payments, the Iraqi oil official in Baghdad replied: ``This is not my

The official said a clause stipulating payment in euros would be included in
sale contracts for November loading crudes.

``We are still talking about November prices now. We have not notified our
customers about anything directly,'' he said, adding: ``We do not anticipate
any problems with our customers paying in euros.''

``We are talking with the U.N. about this now.''

U.N. sources said in May that the Banque Nationale de Paris account had a
record $7.8 billion from proceeds of Iraqi oil sales under the U.N.
humanitarian oil exchange.

Iraq exports of 2.2 million barrels per day at current prices earn about $57
million a day.

The oil deal allows Iraq to sell oil over a six month period on a renewal
basis to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian goods for the Iraqi
people reeling under stringent U.N. sanctions imposed for Baghdad's 1990
invasion of Kuwait.

The Iraqi government decided late last month to halt trading with the dollar
and replace it with the euro or any other currency.

A statement by the Iraqi government after a September 14 cabinet meeting
which originated dropping the dollar said the move was to confront the
``daily American-Zionist aggression.'' ­ Reuters

>From the newsroom of the BBC World Service, 12th October, 2000

The Asian Cup football tournament has kicked off in Lebanon with a
comfortable two-nil win for Iraq over Thailand. Iraq's goals came from
Qahtan Chatir and Haidar Mahmood in front of a sparse crowd. The twelve-day
tournament is going ahead despite security concerns in Lebanon over
escalating tension in the Middle East.

Some three-thousand security personnel, including soldiers, are reported to
have been assigned to the Asian Cup games.

Lebanon play Iran later today.  


New York (Reuters) - Turkey's proposal to bring Iraq's Mediterranean oil
pipeline to full capacity is acceptable as long as it is done under auspices
of the United Nations oil-for-food programme, Western diplomats said.

Earlier yesterday, a senior Turkish oil ministry official said Ankara would
declare the pipeline fully operational as a protest to a U.S. Congressional
resolution embracing allegations of Turkish genocide against Armenians 85
years ago.

Western diplomats say Washington and London wouldn't oppose increasing the
pipeline's capacity from its current flow of about one million barrels per
day (bpd) to between 1.5 million and 1.6 million bpd as long as all work on
the pipeline was done with UN approval.

UN officials say the pipeline won't be at full capacity for a year or so.
The twin pipeline takes crude from the Kirkuk fields in northern Iraq to the
Turkish port of Ceyhan. From there, tankers take the oil to the
Mediterranean oil market.

One of the parallel lines in Iraq has not worked since August 1990 when the
pipeline was shut after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The Turkish official
told Reuters a key metering station on the Iraqi side was already working so
the pipeline's capacity can soon rise to 1.6 million bpd.

"A team of pipeline officials from (Botas) is now in Iraq and they have
reported that the pipeline's pumping station on the Iraqi side can pump at
full capacity," he said.

Diplomats say that any extra revenue from oil sales must also go into the
oil programme fund. Iraq is authorized to export oil on the pipeline and
expanding its volume is not against UN resolutions, several diplomats said.

The U.S. Congressional resolution passed by a House of Representatives
committee last week describes killings during the collapse of the Ottoman
Empire as genocide. If passed by the full House, Turkey will act to restrain
American interests in Turkey including the Incirlik airbase for sorties to
enforce the no-fly zone over northern Iraq.

Raad Alkadiri of the Petroleum Finance Co in Washington said "Iraq is the
ideal place for Turkey to express their dissatisfaction with the
Congressional decision. And, in that sense, they join a long and
distinguished list of states that are using Iraq to tweak U.S. noses."

Friday, 13 October, 2000,

The Iranian Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharazi, is in Iraq -- the first such
visit for more than a decade.

Mr Kharazi flew to Baghdad despite the United Nations air embargo on flights
to Iraq.

Both sides have said they want to resolve all their outstanding differences
following the end of their eight-year war in 1988.

One of the issues to be discussed with his Iraqi counterpart, Mohammad Said
al-Sahhaf, is Iraq's request to open an air corridor through Iranian air
space so that Russia can resume direct flights to and from Moscow. In return
Iran would be allowed to operate direct flight to Damascus through Iraqi air

A full resumption of ties between Iran and Iraq has been held up by a number
of issues, including an exchange of prisoners-of-war and the presence of
opposition groups in each other's countries.

>From the newsroom of the BBC World Service Free!


A contract was signed for exporting Egyptian food products to Iraq worth 100
million L.E (1 US dollar equals 3.50 L.E).

Adel El-Shahawi, the head of the holding company for the Egyptian food
industries, said that these products comprising 30,000 tones of Ghee and
7,000 tons of detergents as well as 6,000 of toilet soap.

This contract was sent to the foreign ministry to pave for taking the
necessary procedures for its ratification from the oil food committee
affiliated to U.N.

He added that it is expected to export these quantities before the end of
coming January, clarifying that by implementing this transaction the total
exports of the Egyptian food products to Iraq will reach 1,3 billion L.E.
Egypt exported to Iraq food products of worth 1200 million L.E during the
last 4 years.


BAGHDAD (AFP, 13th october) - - Four solidarity flights landed in the
sanctions-hit Iraqi capital on Friday despite a decade-old UN air embargo,
officials said.

Two Sudanese planes and a Lebanese aircraft touched down at Saddam
International Airport carrying humanitarian aid as well as political

Earlier the same day, Kamal Kharazi flew in for the first visit to the Iraqi
capital by an Iranian foreign minister in 10 years.

Social Affairs Minister Qotbi al-Mahdi led a delegation on one of the
Sudanese planes, while the other carried six tonnes of medical aid, said
Iraq's official news agency INA.

It said a Boeing 707 cargo plane arrived from Lebanon with MP Mosbah
al-Ahdab on board and 25 tons of aid for Iraq, which has been under sweeping
sanctions including the air embargo since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Lebanon and Sudan joined a long list of Arab countries to test the embargo,
following Russian and French flights, since the reopening of Baghdad's
airport on August 17.


Trans Mediterranean Airlines (TMA) in Lebanon said its flight had UN
authorisation, while the Sudanese planes were delayed by a day, as the
United States warned Khartoum to wait for clearance from the UN sanctions

The Associated Press, Sat 14 Oct 2000

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) ‹ All the passengers on a hijacked Saudi plane were freed
Saturday and the hijackers arrested, Iraqi state television reported.

The plane was carrying 105 people on a flight from Saudi Arabia to London
when the ¾„õp¸_@ it over the¾ōpiterranean Sea, ordering it around
the Middle East before landing in Baghdad.

Details on how the hijacking was resolved were not immediately available.

The Boeing 777 landed at Baghdad's Saddam International Airport about 8 p.m.
local time, the official Iraqi News Agency reported.

Speaking before the release, an Iraqi official in military uniform said the
hijackers, who appeared to number four, said they seized the plane because
they were upset over an investigation into the human rights situation in
Saudi Arabia that was too favorable to the government.

They also said they ordered the plane to fly to Baghdad because Iraq rejects
``U.S. hegemony,'' said the official, who was broadcast speaking on state
television but not identified.

State television said that passengers were taken to the airport lounge but
did not provide information on their condition.

Security at the Baghdad airport was tight, with guards turning away
journalists. Ambulances, buses a fire engine and a fuel tanker went into the
airport as reporters watched.

The Iraqi Ministry of Culture and Information issued a statement saying
``the safety and security of the Saudi plane's passengers concerns us as if
they were Iraqi citizens. Therefore, we reassure the families of the
passengers that the Iraqi authorities will take of their relatives' safety
and comfort to the maximum extent.''

Saudi Arabia and Iraq have had no relations since Iraqi troops invaded
Kuwait in 1990.

A hijacker had at one point threatened to blow up the plane unless it was
allowed to fly to Baghdad, Saudi officials said on condition of anonymity.

Saudi Arabian Airlines officials in Jiddah said the plane had 90 passengers
and 15 crew, led by an Ethiopian captain.

The airline officials said the passengers were 40 Britons, 15 Saudis, 15
Pakistanis, four Yemenis, four South Africans, two Kenyans, and one each
from France, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Oman, the Palestinian territories,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. The plane was hijacked on
its way to London, having taken off from Jiddah.

Word of the hijacking first emerged in Cairo, Egypt: Egyptian civil aviation
officials said the pilot radioed them at 3:55 p.m. local time to say the
plane had been commandeered and the hijackers were insisting that it fly to
Damascus, the Syrian capital.

When it got there, the hijackers asked to land and were denied permission,
Cypriot air traffic controllers said on condition of anonymity. Circling
over the Mediterranean, the hijackers then asked to fly through Syrian
airspace to Iraq, the Cypriots said. The Syrians initially refused but later
changed their mind, Damascus air traffic controllers said, and the plane
flew through Syria to Baghdad.

Damascus airport officials speaking on condition of anonymity had said the
plane landed in Damascus, but they later backed off of those statements,
saying they were erroneous. The official Syrian Arab News Agency reported
that the plane never landed in Damascus, but flew over Syria to Iraq.

Baghdad's Saddam airport was reopened on Aug. 17, having been shut during
the 1991 Gulf War. Regular flights to Baghdad are banned by the U.N.
sanctions imposed since the invasion of Kuwait, but a series of planes have
landed at Saddam airport in the past three weeks as France, Russia and a
dozen Arab states sent delegations and humanitarian aid to Iraq.

*  Hijackers: Saudi Gov't Is Corrupt
The Associated Press, Sun 15 Oct 2000

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) ‹ Two Saudis who hijacked a plane from their country to
Iraq criticized their government as corrupt, undemocratic, and reliant on
outsiders ‹ U.S. troops ‹ for its defense.

Iraqi state television said high-ranking government officials negotiated
with the two hijackers who brought London-bound Saudi Arabian Airlines
Flight 115 to Baghdad late Saturday.

Some 100 passengers and crew spent the night at the Rasheed Hotel in the
heart of the Iraqi capital. They were expected to return with their plane, a
Boeing 777, to Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, later Sunday to catch another flight to

Details of the negotiations were not released. The hijackers, who appeared
to be in their late 20s, surrendered peacefully in Baghdad and later were
allowed to speak briefly with reporters in a televised news conference.

``We want liberty, we want equality and justice,'' one of the men said. ``We
want to choose our own leaders. The time of kings and monarchies is over,''
he said.

The men also complained about human rights abuses, corruption and
unemployment in the kingdom and said their message to the Saudi government
was: ``Enough injustice.''

``Saudi people cannot find work and they bring foreigners in to protect us.
We can protect ourselves,'' said one of the men, who covered half of his
face with a scarf.

The last charge is particularly sensitive at a time when anti-U.S. sentiment
is high in the region amid bloody Israeli-Palestinian clashes. Many Arabs
believe the United States is biased toward Israel, but the Saudi government
is a close U.S. ally and has allowed U.S. troop bases on its territory since
the Gulf War.

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmed said Sunday his country
would demand the immediate extradition for trial of the two hijackers, whom
he identified as Faisal al-Biloowi and Ayish al-Faridi. Hijacking carries
the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

It is unclear whether Iraq would heed the Saudi demand. The countries have
had no relations since Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait in 1990, but a pre-Gulf
War treaty provides for extradition.

Taher Haboush, the Iraqi official who led negotiations with the hijackers,
said they had asked for political asylum. But in their news conference they
denied they had requested asylum and said they would eventually like to
leave Iraq.

It wasn't immediately clear if the hijackers were armed or what other means
they used to seize control of the aircraft. A hijacker had at one point
threatened to blow up the plane unless it was allowed to fly to Baghdad,
Saudi officials.

Saudi officials said on condition of anonymity that al-Biloowi was an
undercover security officer at the Jiddah airport and al-Faridi was a border

Airline officials said the passengers included 40 Britons, 15 Saudis, 15
Pakistanis, four Yemenis, four South Africans, two Kenyans, and one each
from France, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Oman, the Palestinian territories,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

Among the passengers was 19-year-old Saudi Prince Bandar bin Mohammed bin
Saad bin Abdul Rahman, who was on his way to London to study English. The
prince, a cousin of Saudi King Fahd, was interviewed on state-run television
late Saturday. The prince thanked the Iraqi government for the way it
handled the crisis.

It was the second hijacking in the Gulf in a month.

On Sept. 14, an Iraqi man with a knife hijacked a Qatar Airways plane en
route to Jordan and ordered it flown to Saudi Arabia. All 144 passengers and
crew escaped unharmed when the man surrendered at the Saudi city of Hael.

*  Hijack victims prepare to leave Iraq
Released passengers wait at Baghdad airport, October 15, 2000

BAGHDAD, Iraq  -- Passengers and crew from a hijacked Saudi Arabian plane
are preparing to leave the Iraqi capital to continue their journey to

However, before flying to England, they will first have to return to Saudi

The Saudi Arabian Airlines 777-200 had been expected to leave on Sunday
morning but take-off was delayed by several hours.

CNN correspondent Jane Arraf, in Baghdad, said the plane -- and all the
luggage -- had to be checked, following claims by the hijackers that they
had left a bomb on board.

The 112 passengers and crew spent the night at the government-owned Al
Rashid hotel in Baghdad after flying above the Middle East for more than
seven hours on Saturday.

No-one was injured and most did not even know that a hijacking was in
progress until they landed at Saddam Airport.

The two Saudis who commandeered the plane, shortly after it left Jeddah on
Saturday afternoon, surrendered without a fight to the Iraqi authorities.
They are still being detained.

They said they had wanted to bring international attention to repression in
Saudi Arabia.

Iraqi security officials said the men specifically criticised the
international human rights group Amnesty International for "covering up"
human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.

The men also said their actions had been prompted in part by the recent
violence in the Middle East.

"You can say that our Arabic and Muslim emotions were stirred after seeing
our brothers in Palestine facing Israeli weapons with stones," said one. "We
performed our operation with a belief in justice, freedom and equality...
the basis of the human rights bill."

The drama on board Flight 115 began just as the plane crossed out of
Egyptian air space, when the hijackers announced their plan to the crew.

The men initially demanded to be taken to the Syrian capital Damascus,
according to an Egyptian aviation official, but the plane was denied
permission to land there and flew on the Baghdad.

Security officials in Iraq said the two requested a meeting with a Saudi
representative but no Saudi diplomats are posted in Iraq since the two
countries ended diplomatic relations following the 1991 Gulf War.

Heavy security

In interviews after leaving the plane, many passengers said they were not
aware they had been hijacked until an announcement was made after the plane
landed in Baghdad.

The two hijackers hold a press conference   

"I looked out and saw sand by the runway, and I thought 'That's a little
strange for London,'" said one passenger.

Among the passengers were 40 people from Britain, 15 from Saudi Arabia and
15 from Pakistan. The passenger list also included people from France,
India, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Oman, the Palestine territories, South
Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and Yemen.

Iraqi officials said a member of the Saudi royal family -- a 16-year-old
prince -- was on board. They said he was under heavy security at the hotel
with the other passengers.

One passenger said there had been little or no security at Jeddah airport.
"There wasn't any checking of our luggage or ourselves," Waqua Hussein told
Britain's PA News.

"I met the captain at the dinner table last night and he said they (the
hijackers) had three bombs and one gun."

Iraqi officials, however, said they had checked the plane and could find no
evidence of a bomb.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook welcomed the release of the hostages
but refused to thank the Iraqis for helping to end the crisis.

"I would not thank any government for carrying out its clear international
obligation to stop a terrorist hijack," he told a news conference in London.

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