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NEWS, 512/11/00 I am trying to keep the news digests short, honest I am, but I'm not really succeeding. It all seems very interesting at the moment as the international community manifests its impatience with the 'international community', and the new generation of Arab leaders (Morocco, Syria and Jordan) perhaps show what stuff they're made of. * European firms compete at Baghdad trade fair * Mubarak meets Iraqi foreign minister * French Seek to Revamp Iraq Oil * Iraq grants political asylum to two Saudi hijackers * Iraqi flights challenge no-fly zone * Iraq Again Defies No-Fly Zone * Lebanese airlines to resume flights to Iraq * Baghdad rejects British report on Iraq * Iraqi Foreign Minister Concludes Visit to Yemen * Egypt upgrades ties with Iraq * Iraqi on trial in Baghdad after UN killings * Iraq paper criticises satellite TV delay * Saudi Arabia opens land border with Iraq * UK criticises French policy on Iraq [For Hain's speech to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, see Supplement] * Iran firms seek slice of Iraqi market * Second French plane flies to Iraq [Jean Marie lePen and his Front National] * 18 Arab envoys call on BJP chief [in India] * Annan to talk to Iraqis about breaking impasse on inspections * Iraq Seeks Meeting With U.N. * Iraq queries future of UN's oil-for-food * Hain apologises for calling Paris contemptible * Iranian Foreign Ministry source quoted on return of Iraqi aircraft * Iraq Peace Prize [H. Von Sponeck] * Moroccan industry minister arrives in Baghdad * Greeks to fly to Iraq to oppose sanctions * Egypt hoists flag on mission in Baghdad * Iraq Asks U.N. to Extend Current Oil-For-Food Phase * [US] Defense Chief To Visit Gulf States * Partial operation for the Iraqi- Syrian oil pipeline * The US and the Iraqi oil pipeline [and, by way of an archive item: * Britain warns Iraq against opening oil pipeline to Syria] * Indian MPs ask Annan to lift curbs on Iraq * Arab suspects linked to big operation against US [in Kuwait] * Assad meets with top Iraqi official * Row brews over Iraq request for control over revenues * UN committee condemns Iraq abuses * Saddam: 6.6 million volunteers, army to liberate Palestine * Islamic summit: Break ties with Israel * Jordan to help rehabilitate grounded Iraqi planes * Trip to Baghdad flies in face of UN sanctions [G.Galloway's flight] * Turkey raises diplomatic representation with Iraq * Bombing in Iraq an 'undeclared war' Lib Dems accuse MoD of misusing no-fly zones NEWS SUPPLEMENT, 512/11/00 (sent separately) * Misunderstanding Sanctions [a summary of the argument in favour of maintaining sanctions] * Iraqi nuclear arms specialist tells of a CIA snub as he fled [more of Kidhir Hamza] * Oil is one thing - unity is another [Israeli view of Arab attitudes to Iraq] * Western style of democracy proposed [Kuwaiti intellectual on democracy and Islam in Pakistan] * What Game Are We Playing in Yemen? [on differences in attitude towards the Gulf between the US Defense Departtment and the State Department] * Yemen, Islamic Jihad, bin Laden and Iran's hardliners * His file of threats to his people [Full text, I think, of Foreign Office report on atrocities in Iraq] * Upon his return from a gulf tour [Full text of P.Hain's address to the Royal Institute of International Affairs] * Federalisation of Iraq [Kurdish view on how Iraq could be reorganised to prevent domination from Tikrit] * Not an alliance - yet [Israeli view on relations between Iraq and Syria] * Commentary: US emerging as defacto world government? [US feeling that the rest of the world is ganging up on them] URL ONLY http://www.bangkokpost.net/today/121100_News24.html * Ignoring Baghdad puts all at risk Bangkok Post editorial, November 12, 2000 A curious item. An apparently deeply felt call on the US to stuff Saddam back in his box. But why should they feel so strongly about it in Bangkok? http://www.economictimes.com/today/12poli08.htmNew Economy | Companies | | Updated 0003 hrs IST 1333 EST * Russia hints at triangular alliance Economic Times (India, I think) The idea of an alliance between Russia, India and China to counterbalance the US. http://finance.individual.com/display_news.asp?doc_id=RTK05a3298reuff&page=n ews * EUROPEAN FIRMS COMPETE AT BAGHDAD TRADE FAIR By Hassan Hafidh BAGHDAD, Nov 5 (Reuters, November 5, 2000 ) - Hundreds of companies from 45 countries, most of them European, were bidding to sell goods at a Baghdad trade fair on Sunday, seen by organisers as breaking the decade-long U.N. trade sanctions. This years's 10-day fair, which opened on Wednesday, is the biggest since it resumed in 1995 for the first time after the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait. A total of 1,554 firms are taking part. U.N. trade sanctions, imposed shortly after the invasion of Kuwait, ban Iraq from trading freely with the rest of the world. But under an oil-for-food agreement, the U.N. allows Iraq to sell unlimited quantities of oil over six months to buy food, medicine and other goods for humanitarian purposes. The oil deal is expected to generate more than $10 billion in its current six-month phase because of soaring oil prices, opening the door wide for more trade than previous years. Official trade delegations from Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, China, Russia, Turkey and Greece are attending the exhibition, with Finland, Belgium, Germany, Venezuela and Romania taking part for the first time since the Gulf War. ``This great number of participants reflects the idea that more world countries now call for lifting the sanctions which is a step toward breaking the embargo,'' the director of the fair, Fawzi al-Dhahir told Reuters. FRANCE, RUSSIA, CHINA -- BIGGEST PARTICIPANTS The biggest participants are France, Russia and China -- all three permanent U.N. Security Council members which advocate an immediate end to sanctions. The United Sates and Britain are taking a stricter stance as they want to keep the sanctions in place as long as President Saddam Hussein stays in power. Britain which used to be one of the biggest participants in the fair before the Gulf War is represented by only one firm, Vapormatic, specialising in agricultural machines' spare parts. Thirty French companies are taking part and among the big names are TotalFinaElf and Peugeot. Russia, a close ally to Iraq, has sent dozens of its companies to the fair such as Tatneft TATN.RTS, Slavneft and others. China is represented by more than 10 large state-run companies. Some 60 Spanish firms were taking part and organisers said that trade with Iraq was recovering after years of slump. ``Before the sanctions, trade exchange with Iraq used to reach $300 million a year, now although around half of that amount but it is improving,'' Maria Gonzalez-Izquierdo, organiser of the Spanish pavilion, said. She said Spain bought from Iraq around 80 million barrels of crude under the oil pact with the United Nations which started in December 1996. In exchange, Iraq buys from Spain foodstuffs, medicine, agricutlural machines, water purification and sanitation systems. Italy is also represented by 44 firms including car-maker Fiat. A large number of firms from Sweden, Finland, Turkey, Jordan and Iran are also represented. This year's trade fair involved all industries and products except for military equipment which Baghdad is banned to trade with under ceasefire terms after the 1991 Gulf War launched to drive Iraq's invasion forces out of Kuwait. Agricultural, pharmaceutical, electricalo, household, textile and industrial goods and cars were on show for the first time since the sanctions were imposed. ``Companies from almost all parts of the world are taking part except from (Iraq's Gulf War foes) the United States and Kuwait,'' Dhahir said. http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/15164742.htm * MUBARAK MEETS IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER Nov 5, IRNA [Iran] -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak received visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Sayyad al-Sahaf at the Sharm el-Sheikh resort Sunday, Cairo radio reported. The radio gave no details of the meeting, but other media reports from Egypt said Sahaf was carrying a message from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for Mubarak linked with the upcoming Islamic summit in Qatar. The Iraqi foreign minister arrived in Cairo Saturday evening on a tour of Arab countries. Egyptian-Iraqi ties have been warming up lately. Egypt sent three humanitarian flights to Baghdad recently as a sign of moral support and solidarity. Iraq was also invited for the first time in ten years to take part in an emergency Arab summit held in Cairo in October. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4280490&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * FRENCH SEEK TO REVAMP IRAQ OIL BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP, 5 Nov 2000) ‹ Major French oil companies are pledging to help their Iraqi counterparts with high-tech solutions to increase the amount of recoverable oil from existing fields and improve the quality of refined products. Spurred by their country's support for Iraq in its fight against U.N. trade sanctions, French oil companies are confident about business prospects that will be available to them once the sanctions imposed for Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait are lifted. The Iraqi oil industry is still recovering from damage inflicted during the 1991 Gulf War, with repairs progressing slowly under restrictions of the U.N. sanctions. The country's own efforts to increase production have stumbled because of a lack of spare parts and equipment. Total Fina Elf, one of more than 100 French firms participating Sunday in the annual Baghdad International Fair, is near agreement with the Iraqis to develop two fields, one of them believed to be among the largest in the world. Combined, the two fields are estimated to hold more than 35 billion barrels of oil, more than three times the company's proven reserves to date. In addition to striking deals, representatives from the French oil industry said they were discussing with their Iraqi partners ways to improve oil recovery from existing fields. Claude Gadelle, deputy director of the influential French Petroleum Institute, said French oil extraction technology could help Iraq increase by nearly 30 percent its oil output capacity of 3.4 million barrels a day. ``We have developed new technologies that will make it very easy, and relatively cheap to improve recovery from wells which have been discovered and those to be discovered,'' he said. Iraq sits on the world's second-largest oil reserves. Under modifications to the sanctions made over the years, the country can export as much oil as it chooses provided the proceeds are monitored by the United Nations to ensure use only for humanitarian goods, war reparations and spare parts to revamp the oil industry. Iraq has the right to allocate $1.2 billion from its U.N.-monitored oil revenues every year to rehabilitate the oil sector. French oil executives said prospects for business even within the current limits are bright. Jean-Jacques Royant of the Oil and gas Industry French Suppliers Council said French firms have decided ``to fight'' to have the U.N. curbs on foreign investment in Iraq's oil industry removed. ``We are not politicians, but we will try to fight. At our level, we will try to work out something,'' he said, without elaborating. In a paper presented to the gathering, he introduced to Iraqis what his council can do to help them remove bottlenecks, improve contacts and gain easier access to new technologies. Royant said the French were ``here to offer Iraqi counterparts new technologies to revamp refineries, improve quality of products, adopt new processes to reduce amount of waste and improve environment.'' ``We offer to answer all your technical questions. Never hesitate to write to us,'' he urged the Iraqis. Faleh al-Khayat, director-general of the Iraqi Oil Ministry's Planning and Studies Department, advised his colleagues to rely on French firms and consultancies because they can act as ``a safety valve'' for us. Al-Khayat said it was time the Oil Ministry adjusted to the latest technologies after more than 10 years of isolation. Representatives of Total Fina Elf, meanwhile, said they were confident the Iraqi government won't change the preferential terms given to them to develop the Majnoon and Nahr Umar fields in the south. Speaking on condition their names not be used, company representatives said the deals just need the stroke of the pen and the company will start work once the sanctions are lifted. http://www.abc.net.au/ra/newsdaily/s208169.htm * IRAQ GRANTS POLITICAL ASYLUM TO TWO SAUDI HIJACKERS Iraq says it has granted political asylum to two Saudis who hijacked a Saudi Arabian plane to Baghdad on October 15th. Iraq's Foreign Minister, Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf, says the hijackers were granted asylum after being questioned. Saudi Arabia has twice requested the extradition of the two Saudi nationals. A Boeing triple-seven, flying from Jeddah to London, was highjacked to Baghdad, but its passengers were quickly released and the hijackers taken into custody. http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/311/nation/Iraqi_flights_challenge_no_fly_ zone+.shtml * IRAQI FLIGHTS CHALLENGE NO-FLY ZONE By Waiel Faleh, Boston Globe, 6th November 2000 BAGHDAD (Associated Press)- Iraq sent domestic passenger flights carrying 156 people into the no-fly zones patrolled by US and British warplanes yesterday, the first challenge of its kind to what Iraq considers infringements of its sovereignty. Two planes left Baghdad at 1 p.m., bound for Basra in the southern no-fly zone and Mosul in the northern zone, the official Iraqi News Agency reported. They returned safely to Baghdad about four hours later, the agency said. Iraq said the flights mark the resumption of regular passenger service to the cities. The flights used Russian-made military cargo planes: an Antonov with 42 passengers to Mosul and an Ilyushin with 114 passengers to Basra. The resumption of the flights, which Iraq announced on Oct. 30, came nearly a decade after Iraq's fleet of 15 Boeing airliners was moved to Jordan, Iran, and Tunisia to escape the 1991 Gulf War. They remain abroad. Passengers aboard the inaugural flights included officials and journalists who returned with the planes to Baghdad. Thousands of people had gathered to welcome the planes on arrival in Basra and Mosul, according to the news agency. The United States says Iraqi military planes have often violated the zones with quick forays since December 1998. The US-British patrols bar fixed-wing Iraqi aircraft or helicopters from entering the zones, but there was no word yesterday whether Iraq had given Britain and the United States advance notice of the domestic flights. ''We will continue to monitor closely any Iraqi aviation, to determine whether it poses a threat to our forces, Iraq's neighbors, or the Iraqi people,'' a US State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. [.....] http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4291418&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * IRAQ AGAIN DEFIES NO-FLY ZONE BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, 6 Nov) ‹ For the second consecutive day, Iraq on Monday sent two domestic passenger flights from Baghdad to the cities of Basra and Mosul in defiance of no-fly zones enforced by U.S. and British warplanes since 1991. The official Iraqi News Agency said the morning flight to Basra, 343 miles south of Baghdad, left with eight passengers on board, while the one to Mosul, 250 miles north of the capital, left about 30 minutes earlier with 14. On Sunday, Iraq flew a total of 156 passengers to the two cities, using converted Russian made military cargo aircraft. The type of aircraft used on Monday was not known. In Washington, White House spokesman Jake Siewert said the United States does not object to civilian flights, ``but the no-fly zones remain in effect and are designed to protect people on the ground there.'' ``We think that notice would be helpful in that we're maintaining a no-fly zone there designed to stop military aggression against Saddam Hussein's own people on the ground there and against the Kurds,'' Siewert said. ``We're going to continue to have that no-fly zone in place.'' Iraq's fleet of 15 Boeing airliners was moved to Jordan, Iran and Tunisia to escape bombing during the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait. They remain abroad. [.....] In a move to encourage flights, Iraq said Monday it will refuel incoming aircraft free of charge and will not collect any airport tax or charges, a transportation ministry official told the official Iraqi News Agency. SEE ALSO: http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4309352&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * U.S. Modifies Iraq Overflights This adds the following detail: [Pentagon spokesman, Kenneth Bacon "said Iraq has not provided allied officials with advance notice of the commercial flights"] http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=134280 * LEBANESE AIRLINES TO RESUME FLIGHTS TO IRAQ BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- In an attempt to weaken U.N. sanctions against Iraq, a Lebanese air-cargo company said Monday it would start regular flights between Beirut and Baghdad. The Trans Mediterranean Airways said in a statement it had concluded an agreement with Iraqi Airways to operate a regular line between the two cities. The statement said the deal was reached during a meeting last week between TMA Chairman Fadi Saab and Iraqi Airways chief Iyad Hammam. According to terms of the deal, TMA would transport to Iraq goods brought in by companies as part of the U.N. oil-for-food program. Beirut would serve as transit for the goods. The two sides also discussed Iraqi Airways' plans to resume flights, including the possibility of TMA renting cargo planes and providing maintenance, including training and spare parts, for Iraqi Airways' Boeing 707 aircraft. Iraq resumed internal flights Sunday for the first time since 1990. Saab, TMA's chairman, and Ahmed Mortada Ahmed, Iraq's transportation minister, discussed resuming regular flights between Lebanon and Iraq and the start of a weekly cargo flight as soon as possible, the statement said. TMA halted flights to Baghdad 15 years ago and was "looking to resume such flights as soon as possible to meet the growing demands of the Iraqi market after 10 years of unjustified (U.N.-imposed) embargo," the statement said. Lebanon has so far sent three planes to Baghdad, joining other Arab and foreign countries in their efforts to break the U.N. embargo that was imposed following Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. http://www.timesofindia.com/071100/07mide4.htm * BAGHDAD REJECTS BRITISH REPORT ON IRAQ (Times of India, 7th Nov) BAGHDAD: A spokesman for the Iraqi culture and information ministry on Sunday strongly rejected a British foreign office report on the execution of prostitutes and the mentally ill in Iraq. "This report, riddled with lies, clearly reveals the spitefulness and deep hatred of the British colonialists towards Iraq," the spokesman said, quoted by the INA news agency. "The British government and its ally, the American (state) department, could find nothing better to counter the crumbling of the embargo imposed on Iraq and the collapse of the air embargo that to make up a report infested with stupid accusations, to try to prejudice the image of Iraq," the spokesman added. "This report can only be interpreted as a failure of the British government and the American administration to handle the international move opposed to the continuation of the embargo and the aggression against Iraq."(AFP) http://yementimes.com/00/iss45/ln.htm#3 * IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER CONCLUDES VISIT TO YEMEN Yemen Times, 7th November SANAA: Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahaf left here on Saturday for Cairo after a two-day visit. During his stay, the Iraqi minister met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and delivered a message to him from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on bilateral relations and Arab and international issues of mutual concern, the official Yemen News Agency said. The message came in the framework of consultations and exchange of views between Yemen and Iraq regarding the upcoming summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Doha, Qatar, Sahaf told reporters before departure. He said the message was aimed at rallying support from Yemen for Iraq¹s appeal that the OIC summit slated for November 12 14 should be devoted to the Palestinian cause and extending support for the Palestinians. Iraq said last month that it would try to persuade the OIC members to devote the coming Islamic summit to the Palestinian cause only. Sahaf arrived in the Yemeni capital Friday evening on a multi-leg Arab tour, which started from Jordan on Tuesday. He is also expected to visit Libya and Qatar. (Xinhua) http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1012000/1012166.st m * EGYPT UPGRADES TIES WITH IRAQ Egypt has upgraded its relations with Iraq. The move follows a visit to Egypt on Sunday by the Iraqi foreign minister, Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf. Few details have been released, but Arab League officials say the two countries have restored ties at the level of charge d'affaires. [.....] http://www.brecorder.com/story/S00DD/SDK07/SDK07185.htm * IRAQI ON TRIAL IN BAGHDAD AFTER UN KILLINGS BAGHDAD (November 7) : A man appeared in a Baghdad court on Monday charged with killing two UN staff and wounding seven others in the Iraqi capital last June. The Karadah court heard evidence in the trial of Fu'ad Hussein Haider, accused of killing two Food and Agriculture Organisation employees when he burst into Baghdad's FAO office and opened fire in a reception area before going upstairs and continuing to shoot. At the time Haider said he was planning to take FAO officials hostage in protest against UN sanctions imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. He said his demands were aimed at alleviating the hardship caused by the embargo. On Monday the court heard evidence from some FAO officials who were present during the shooting on June 28. If he is convicted, the 38-year-old Haider could face the death penalty, an Iraqi police source said. The two who died in the attack were Yusuf Abdilleh , a Somali administrative officer and Marewan Mohammed Hassan, an Iraqi information technology worker. Sanctions have caused widespread suffering, particularly among Iraq's women and children, and there have been growing calls internationally for an end to the trade ban.-Reuters http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1011000/1011521.st mlow graphics version | feedback | help * IRAQ PAPER CRITICISES SATELLITE TV DELAY An Iraqi newspaper has criticised the government over delays in making foreign satellite television channels available in the country. In what correspondents say is a rare public criticism, the weekly Al-Zaman singled out the Information Ministry for failing to implement a cabinet decision adopted a year ago. If the decision of the government had been against freedom of expression or information, the officials would have implemented it immediately The paper's editor-in-chief, Dawood al-Farhan, said it was not in the country's interests to keep depriving Iraqis of what he called a window on the world. Controls on information in the country are tight, with access to the world wide web limited and authorisation required for the use of fax machines. Last year, the cabinet approved a bill to set up a television network aimed at receiving and redistributing satellite television transmissions to Iraqis. The Information Ministry said in September it had signed a deal with an international company which would allow Iraqis to receive satellite channels in the next six months. Iraq, which was one of the first Arab countries to introduce television, has two terrestrial channels: the official Iraq Television and Youth TV, which is headed by Uday Hussein, the eldest son of the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. In July, the government opened the country's first internet cafe in the capital Baghdad. It also promised to set up other premises for public computer access in major cities. Authority to access the internet has been restricted to a few official places such as government ministries, with the Ministry of Culture and Information the only internet provider. http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/07/saudi.iraq.ap/index.html tore * SAUDI ARABIA OPENS LAND BORDER WITH IRAQ RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (The Associated Press, November 7) -- Saudi Arabia has opened its land border with Iraq for the first time since the 1991 Gulf War to facilitate the transportation of Saudi exports, the English-language daily Arab News reported Tuesday. It quoted Abdul-Rahman al-Zamil, chairman of the Exports Development Center, as saying the move would reduce the cost of transporting Saudi products to Iraq by 50 percent. Saudi companies have garnered more than 2.2 billion riyals ($586 million) worth of contracts in Iraq under the U.N.-approved oil-for-food program, the paper said. The program allows Iraq to export oil under U.N. supervision to pay for food, medicine and humanitarian supplies and repay was reparations. The U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq to punish it for invading Kuwait in 1990. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1012000/1012225.st m * UK CRITICISES FRENCH POLICY ON IRAQ BBC, 7 November, 2000 France, Russia and many Arab states have sent planes to Iraq UK Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain has criticised French policy on Iraq and its impact on the UN Security Council's efforts to maintain sanctions against Baghdad. In a speech in London, Mr Hain described French policy as contemptible and destructive. The BBC's diplomatic correspondent, Barnaby Mason, says that although Mr Hain did not spell out exactly what he was criticising, in his speech he referred to the recent wave international flights into Iraq. A French aircraft, the second since August, landed in the Iraqi capital today. Speaking at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, Chatham House, the minister also criticised the United Arab Emirates, particularly Dubai, for becoming a conduit for Iraqi oil. Mr Hain added that the Security Council resolution held out the prospect of sanctions being suspended if Baghdad co-operated with a new UN weapons inspection body. Speaking to BBC radio earlier, Mr Hain said Britain wanted to see the sanctions suspended. There is $24bn of oil wealth under the UN control that Saddam would like to get his hands on, re-arm himself into a position to inflict tyranny...on his own people, which he has not been able to do under the sanctions regime. "There is a new way forward. What we should do is join together and encourage Saddam to take it," he said. "That is why we spent eight months negotiating with the United Nations on Security Council resolution 1284, which would provide for sanctions to be suspended within six months." Iraq says it would not accept the new UN arms inspection team established under the resolution last December, arguing that it has already destroyed all its banned weapons of mass destruction. Mr Hain said France's policy might bring short-term gains, but described as destructive in the long term. He urged those tempted by what he called commercial gains or gesture politics to consider the possible damage to the UN's credibility. [.....] http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=2037 * IRAN FIRMS SEEK SLICE OF IRAQI MARKET Reuters, Baghdad, 7th November: Former foe Iran is showing off textiles, electrical goods, agricultural machines and food at an Iraqi trade fair to grab a slice of a lucrative market under Baghdad's UN oil-for-food exchange. Iranian firms attending the annual fair for only the second time since the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war are among 1,554 companies at an event billed as the largest Iraqi trade exhibition in years. "All of the 50 Iranian companies represented at the fair deal with goods which Iraq is allowed to import under its UN oil programme," said Hussein Meir Dhafar, head of the Iranian pavilion. "A number of Iranian companies are currently negotiating deals with Iraq to provide it with agricultural machinery, food and medicine," Dhafar said. "Iran's trade under Iraq's UN oil deal in 1999 amounted to $90 million." [.....] Major Iranian exhibitors include Govah Co, which produces spare parts for Mercedes Benz commercial vehicles, Boshkeh Jonob, which produces metal barrels, Hafez & Ceramic Inds, Iran Electrical Equipment Engineering Co, the Pharmico Iran Pharmaceutical Industries Export Co, Tractorsazi Commercial and Kara Telephone. A thaw has been under way between Iran and Iraq in recent months with the two taking a step towards improving relations strained since their 1980-88 war through high-level talks. Iranian President Mohammed Khatami had talks with Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan on the sidelines of an Opec summit in Caracas in September. The two countries last month decided to resurrect a 1975 border and security pact that had been in limbo for 20 years. One of the biggest delegations is from traditional trade partner France, with oil firms such as TotalFinaElf making up almost a third of the country's participants. "This year's participation is the fourth and as in every year we introduce new companies to the Iraqi market," said Christian Valery, head of the pavilion. "Some 70 per cent of the participating firms have already had contracts with Iraq under its oil deal with the United Nations while the remaining 30 per cent are newcomers to the Iraqi markets," Valery said. Besides oil firms, the French contribution includes Renault, Peugeot, Geodis Overseas, Entrepose, Group Textron Fluid Handling Products, Coris, Alstom, Agencinox and Alcatel. http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=134670 * SECOND FRENCH PLANE FLIES TO IRAQ by Elizabeth Bryant (UPI) PARIS, Nov. 7 -- A private French plane carrying politicians and children's' rights advocates flew to Iraq Tuesday, ostensibly to attend a humanitarian conference in Baghdad. The plane, carrying the wife of the leader of France's far right National Front party, was the second Baghdad-bound flight from France since 1998. Another private flight, carrying doctors, dentists and sports experts flew to Iraq in September. The French government notified U.N. sanctions authorities Monday about the flight, a foreign ministry spokesman said. The plane was carrying the wife of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the head of the National Front. Le Pen wife, who has visited Iraq several times, heads SOS Enfants-Iraq, a nongovernmental organization targeting the plight of Iraqi children under U.N. sanctions. Other passengers included National Front party members and French Prince Sixte Henry de Borbon [sic. Bourbon] Parme. "This was simply a humanitarian mission," said National Front spokesman Alain Vizier. "But our position is we should lift the (U.N.) embargo that is killing the children of Iraq." [.....] http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=2128 * 18 ARAB ENVOYS CALL ON BJP CHIEF New Delhi, 8th November [I include this item because of the curious detail that the delegation includes representatives both of Kuwait and Iraq PB] India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, perceived abroad as anti-Muslim, received a shot in the arm when a huge delegation of envoys from the Arab countries called on the new party president Bangaru Laxman at the party's central office yesterday. A buoyant BJP senior vice president K. Jana Krishnamurthy termed the first-ever meeting of this magnitude as "historic" and said the call by the ambassadors representing 18 Arab countries together would lead to a better understanding of the BJP by Arab countries. The group of ambassadors who interacted with Laxman and other senior office-bearers of the party for nearly 90 minutes included those from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Morocco, Libya, Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Algeria, Somalia and the Arab League. According to N.N. Jha who heads the BJP's Foreign Affairs Committee, yesterday's meeting was organised at the behest of the Arab ambassadors, who basically wanted to "probe the minds" of the new set of BJP office bearers and to brief India's ruling party on the "latest developments" in the Middle East. Laxman was assisted at the meeting by his vice presidents Krishnamurthy and Pyare Lal Khandelwal, general secretary Narendra Modi and members of the party's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees of the party, besides Jha, a retired career diplomat. Talking to Gulf News yesterday, Jha said that both sides resolved to organise more such meetings at regular intervals, as it would help further consolidate the friendly Indo-Arab relations. While the historical ties between India and the Arab world dominated proceedings of the meeting, the visiting diplomats reminded the BJP about India's tremendous stake in the peace and stability of the region where approximately four million Indian nationals work. The Palestinian ambassador sought India's help in resolving the tension and conflict with Israel, which he said, had resulted in the creation of instability in the region. It was emphasised that there was urgent need to find ways to kick-start the peace process in the region to ensure protection and security of the Palestinian people. http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/07/un.iraq.ap/index.html * ANNAN TO TALK TO IRAQIS ABOUT BREAKING IMPASSE ON INSPECTIONS UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press, November 7, 2000) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he plans to talk to Iraqi leaders at an upcoming Islamic summit about breaking a two year impasse on returning U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq. With Iraq starting to come out of its 10-year isolation and the election of a new U.S. president, some U.N. officials and Western diplomats believe the Iraqi government may be ready to signal an end to its standoff with the U.N. Security Council. "I think the Iraqis -- as many of the member states here in this organization -- would like the impasse we're in here broken, and for us to move forward," Annan said Tuesday. Annan left for Europe on Tuesday night en route to the November 12-14 summit of the 56 nation Organization of the Islamic Conference in Doha, Qatar, and said he was "looking forward" to talking to the Iraqi leaders attending the conference. Iraq's Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, and possibly one of the country's vice presidents, were expected to attend the summit, U.N. officials said. Al-Sahhaf and Annan last met in September during the Millennium Assembly at the United Nations. [.....] http://www.sfgate.com/cgi bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/11/08/MN98563.DTL * IRAQ SEEKS MEETING WITH U.N. by Barbara Crossette, New York Times, November 8, 2000 United Nations -- Iraq has asked for a meeting with Secretary- General Kofi Annan to try to break the impasse over arms inspections in the country, U.N. officials said yesterday. Annan said at a news conference that he would meet representatives of the Iraqi government at a summit-level meeting of Islamic nations beginning Sunday in Doha, Qatar. This is the first time since a new arms inspection plan was adopted by the Security Council in December that the government of Saddam Hussein has sought a meeting with U.N. officials. Iraq is required to cooperate with the new arms panel, the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, if sanctions imposed after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait are to be lifted. [....] An agreement that the secretary general struck with Saddam in 1998 to allow the resumption of inspections was soon violated by the Iraqis. Later that year, the United States and Britain bombed Iraq because of its refusal to cooperate. Since then, no inspections have been permitted, except for a routine International Atomic Energy Agency check of known nuclear material. [.....] [I've added this to the above because of the statement that this meeting was asked for by the Iraqis. Also my memory was that the 1998 agreement with Annan was broken by the UN. The clear spirit of it was that th preonderance of US inspectors would be broken and instead, if I'm not mistaken' it was reinforced PB] http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=2242 * IRAQ QUERIES FUTURE OF UN'S OIL-FOR-FOOD Baghdad | Reuters | 09-11-00 | Iraq yesterday queried its future participation in the United Nations oil-for-food exchange in what appeared to be Baghdad's latest effort to shake loose the shackles of 10-year-old trade sanctions. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz in a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan questioned the benefit of Baghdad's continued involvement in the humanitarian programme, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported. INA, in a dispatch from New York, said Aziz had complained that there was no benefit for Iraq in continuing to export oil while the revenues generated were accumulated in a U.N. escrow account. "Iraq questions officially the United Nations on the benefit of continuing pumping at a time that its revenues from oil sales are accumulating at the bank," the dispatch reported the letter as saying. Iraq, bound since 1990 by UN Gulf War sanctions, exports oil under strict UN supervision in exchange for foods and medicines, with 30 per cent of oil revenues kept for Gulf War reparations. There is currently more than $11 billion of revenue from the exchange held in an escrow account. Under the programme Iraq exports about 2.3 million barrels a day accounting for five per cent of world oil exports. If it were to suspend exports for any length of time oil prices, already over $30, would be likely to rise further. Oil revenues under the exchange are deposited in a UN escrow account at the Banque de Paris-Paribas branch in New York. "The accumulated and semi-frozen revenues at the BNP bank until November 2 have reached $11.37 billion," Aziz said. He complained that contracts for purchasing humanitarian goods worth $2.38 billion remained on hold with contracts to the value of $1.24 still to be circulated among members of the U.N. sanctions committee. Separately, in a surprise move on Tuesday Iraq suspended crude exports via < Turkey accounting for 40 percent, a million barrels daily, of its oil sales. UN sources said the suspension was only expected to last 24 hours as Baghdad pushed the U.N. to put a mechanism in place to receive payment in euros rather than dollars. The United Nations on Tuesday finalised a new letter of credit that will allow Iraqi customers to pay Baghdad in euros, a well-placed UN source said. http://vig-web1-pri.level3.newsint.co.uk:8000/article/0,,32508,00.html * HAIN APOLOGISES FOR CALLING PARIS CONTEMPTIBLE by Richard Beeston, Diplomatic Editor, The Times, 9th November PETER HAIN, the junior Foreign Office minister, was forced to make a humiliating apology to France yesterday after describing French policy on Iraq as "contemptible". The fiery tongued minister, who is responsible for Middle Eastern affairs, said: "These were unscripted remarks in answer to questions on flights and Iraqi sanctions. We value our co operation with the French Government . . . and are working with the French to achieve a common position on the flights issue . . . This is essential if Iraq is to move forward by international agreement." His remarks contrasted sharply with comments he made at the Royal Institute of International Affairs on Tuesday. Although Britain and the US still enforce a United Nations embargo and patrol no-fly zones over the country, the sanctions policy has unravelled in recent weeks. Britain was clearly upset by the arrival of a large French trade delegation and two French flights to Baghdad. "Frankly, French policy in Iraq has been pretty contemptible", Mr Hain said. "It will put back a resolution of the crisis. I think that the French have absolutely no illusions that we do not welcome their dabbling in this matter." In addition to being very undiplomatic, Mr Hain's comments were also poorly timed, since Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, was in Paris yesterday for talks with his counterpart, Hubert Védrine. Mr Cook faced fierce questioning by the French parliamentary foreign affairs committee over Britain's policy, but, to his undoubted relief, no mention of Mr Hain's gaffe. Jean-Bernard Raimond called the embargo absurd and said it should be lifted, a sentiment widely echoed by the committee. Mr Cook made plain his determination to resist any such moves, saying: "If I thought that by hugging Saddam Hussein we could produce peace and friendship, then I would do it." In his outburst Mr Hain also directed his criticism at friendly Arab states such as the United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, which he accused of becoming a conduit for smuggled Iraqi oil. Nevertheless, the tirade is unlikely to have much effect. All of Iraq's neighbours, apart from Kuwait, are building up trade with their former enemy. http://search.ft.com/Search/MultiSearch/globalarchive.jsp?docId=001106007170 &query=Iraq&resultsShown=20&resultsToRequest=100 * IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SOURCE QUOTED ON RETURN OF IRAQI AIRCRAFT Text of report in English by 'Tehran Times' web site on 6th November, BBC Monitoring Service, Wednesday Nov 8 2000 Iran will not return any Iraqi passenger plane to Iraq, a high-ranking official at Foreign Ministry told the 'Tehran Times'. The Paris-based `Al-Muharrar News' said Saturday that Iran would return ten Iraqi passenger planes to Baghdad. Quoting Iraqi diplomatic sources in Amman, it added, 10 out of the 25 passenger planes which were sent to Iran during the Allied Forces attack on Iraq would be returned to Baghdad. Before the attack of the Allied Forces, Iraq dispatched some of its passenger planes to Iran to save them from US attacks. The number of the Iraqi planes is controversial. Iran has rejected Iraqi claims about the number of planes. Bilateral relations between Iran and Iraq have improved since a meeting between President Khatami and Iraqi vice president in New York in September. Recent trip of Kamal Kharrazi to Baghdad was another turning point in the relations of the two countries. Although both countries agreed to a cease-fire in 1988, they have not signed a peace treaty. According to UN Resolution 598, Iraq must pay the war indemnities to Iran. But Iraq has not paid anything so far. The indemnities are put at 1,000 billion dollars. Some circles in Iran believe that the Iraqi planes will not be returned until the indemnities are paid. Communicated to CASI list by F. Arbuthnot Thu, Nov 9, 2000, 6:03 pm * IRAQ PEACE PRIZE Former UN Co-Ordinator in Iraq Count Hans von Sponeck has been awarded the Coventry International Peace and Reconcilliation Award, which is presented annually by the Cathederal and City of Coventry. The Award, which will be presented on November 14th - the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the Cathederal - and consists of a manque [maquette?] of the statue of Reconcilliation by sculptress Josephina de Vasconcellos and a certificate endorsed by the Bishop of Coventry, the Mayor and the Dean of the Cathederal. The bombing of Coventry, twinned with Dresden in Germany, gave birth 'to a unique dedication to the work of peace and rconcilliation.' The award to Count von Sponeck is poignantly apt. His father stood up against Hitler and was shot by him weeks before Hans was born. Von Sponeck, like his predecessor Denis Halliday put compassion and integrity before the might of the UN and resigned his post in Iraq on the basis that the embargo was 'inhumane and responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.' This Award and the fact that Halliday and Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness were nominated for the Nobel Prize are not alone deserving but a tangible indication of the enormity of the destruction caused by not alone sanctions, but lack of dialogue. These are three people whose determination to make contact at all levels and to build bridges of reconcilliation are a gentle rebuke to rhetoric and mindset. The Coventry Award is an inestimable endorsement of the campaigns against sanctions. Warmest congratulations to Count von Sponeck. Details of Award Ceremony: (+44) (0)24-7622 7597 http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/001108/2000110812.html * MOROCCAN INDUSTRY MINISTER ARRIVES IN BAGHDAD Moroccan minister of industry, commerce, energy and minerals Mustafa al-Mansouri arrived on Tuesday in Baghdad leading a delegation including 35 figures representing political parties, trade unions and the press. In an arrival statement, al-Mansouri said he is carrying a message from the Moroccan King Muhammad 6th to the Iraqi leadership pertaining to bilateral relations between the two sisterly countries and means of strengthening them in the service of joint interests. Minister al-Mansouri also indicated that this visit came to voice solidarity with Iraq and its steadfast people and is considered a break to what is called the air embargo imposed on Iraq. The visit of minister al-Mansouri coincides with to visit of several Arab ministers to the Iraqi capital Baghdad to open the 33rd session of Baghdad's International airport. However, the first Moroccan plane arrived in Baghdad on September 23rd. http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/09/iraq.greece.reut/index.html * GREEKS TO FLY TO IRAQ TO OPPOSE SANCTIONS CNN, November 9, 2000 ATHENS, Greece (Reuters) -- A group of Greek celebrities said they would fly to Iraq on Friday to protest against international sanctions on Baghdad. "We will remain in Baghdad for three days to express our solidarity to the people of Iraq. They include actors, members of parliament and journalists, and international non governmental organizations. [....] http://www.dawn.com/2000/11/09/int8.htm * EGYPT HOISTS FLAG ON MISSION IN BAGHDAD Dawn (Pakistan), 09 November 2000, 12 Shaban 1421 CAIRO, Nov 8: Egypt ordered the hoisting of its flag again over its diplomatic mission in Baghdad for the first time in a decade on Tuesday night. Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mussa announced that Egypt and Iraq had effectively re established diplomatic relations, cut off since the Gulf war of 1991. "There are missions in Egypt and Iraq, which are headed by charges d'affaires," Mussa said.-AFP http://www.latimes.com/wires/20001109/tCB00a5482.html * IRAQ ASKS U.N. TO EXTEND CURRENT OIL-FOR-FOOD PHASE Los Angeles Times, 9th November DUBAI--Iraq has made a formal request to the United Nations for an extension of the current eighth phase of the U.N.'s oil-for-food exchange to January 15, an Iraqi official said on Thursday. "We have sent the request to the United Nations but we have not got a response back yet," the official told Reuters. The latest six-month phase of oil-for-food is due to expire on December 5. The previous phase was extended by 17 days to allow smooth deliveries between tranches of the humanitarian program. Iraq in recent weeks has raised a number of issues with the United Nations over oil-for-food, getting agreement for the payment of oil sales in euros rather than dollars and saying it wants to start deliveries to Syria outside the program. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4347066&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * DEFENSE CHIEF TO VISIT GULF STATES WASHINGTON (Associated Press, Thu 9 Nov 2000) ‹ Defense Secretary William Cohen plans to travel next week to the Persian Gulf, where U.S. forces have been on a heightened state of alert since the Oct. 12 terrorist bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. The Pentagon announced, with few details, that Cohen will leave Tuesday to visit the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as Israel, Jordan and Egypt. He will consult with his counterparts in those countries, meet with other government officials and visit U.S. troops in the region. The Navy, meanwhile, announced after weeks of deliberation that the Cole will be repaired at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., where the $1 billion destroyer was built. It is due to arrive in the United States in early December. The Navy has estimated it will cost at least $150 million to repair the ship. Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Cate Mueller said it was not yet clear whether the Cole will return to its home port at Norfolk, Va., to offload its missiles and other weapons before entering the shipyard in Mississippi. In response to new threats of terrorist attacks on U.S. interests in the area, American forces in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were placed on the highest possible alert level ‹ ``threatcon delta'' ‹ in late October. About a week earlier, the alert level in Bahrain and Qatar had been raised to threatcon delta, although Bacon said Thursday that the alert level in Bahrain had come down a notch. He would not elaborate. ABC News, citing intelligence sources, reported Thursday night that terrorists who attacked the Cole originally planned to hit another American warship in the same port 10 months earlier. The attack of the USS The Sullivans, which refueled in Yemen on Jan. 3, was to be a part of a worldwide effort during millennium celebrations that also included targets in Jordan and Seattle, ABC said. A senior Justice Department official would not comment on the report Thursday night. The Pentagon said Cohen will return to Washington on Nov. 23, although Bacon said the schedule was not yet firm. Asked whether that was related to heightened tensions in the region, Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon would say only, ``There are a number of reasons why the schedule is changing. And we're still working on the schedule, and it's premature to discuss it.'' Bahrain hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which sent all of its ships out of port the day of the Cole bombing in Aden, Yemen, as a precaution. Bacon said the ships remain at sea. There are about 5,000 U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia and a similar number in Kuwait. In Qatar, a small contingent of U.S. forces maintain a large quantity of pre-positioned Army combat equipment. The United Arab Emirates hosts U.S. Air Force refueling aircraft. Cohen's trip was scheduled before the Cole bombing and is one of his periodic visits to consult with Gulf allies on regional issues such as the Middle East peace process and containment of Iraq's military. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/001109/2000110916.html Free! * PARTIAL OPERATION FOR THE IRAQI- SYRIAN OIL PIPELINE Arabic News, 11/9/2000 Oil experts have expected the operation of the Syrian- Iraqi oil pipeline in the coming days following a cessation of 18 years. The London-based al-Hayat daily said in its today's issue that the Syrian- Iraqi decision is to re-operate the pipeline and to contribute to lifting the sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people " without violating the UN security council resolutions." A matter which means that Iraq will export 200 to 300 thousand barrels of oil per day at " reduced prices." This will help Damascus to raise its oil exports and benefit from the price differential. The value of the Syrian revenues from the margin of difference in the preferred oil price will be between US $ 500, 000 to one million per day. The Syrian total production of oil is 600,000 barrels of oil, half of which are exported to the world market. Both Washington and London rejected the Syrian- Iraqi decision, but experts believe that exporting the Iraqi oil to Syria at " reduced prices ", the same as is being done with Jordan, is not a "violation to the UN security resolutions." One expert said that the UN resolution 986 (governing the oil-for-food program ) had set two gates for exporting the Iraqi oil, The Turkish port of Jeihan and the Iraqi al-baker port, adding that this resolution did not ban exporting oil at reduced prices to other countries. The experts added that the Iraqi side told the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that during the negotiations on the " Oil for food" memorandum in 1996 that Baghdad " intends to use a third gate for exportation which is Syria." Syrian- Iraqi negotiations over oil started in 1997 after months of re-launching closeness between Damascus and Baghdad. Then thoughts were exchanged in the area of oil cooperation including re-operating Karkouk- Banias oil pipelines which is closed since 1982 and cooperation to install a new pipeline at a capacity of 1.4 million barrels every day as well as building a refinery near Banias of a refining capacity of 140,000 barrels every day. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/001111/2000111106.html * THE US AND THE IRAQI OIL PIPELINE Arabic News, 11th November A high ranking US official said in a statement to the London- based al-Hayat daily issued on Friday that the US administration will not oppose Damascus's decision to re-operate the Syrian- Iraqi oil pipeline and this is in contrary to its previous decision (when the US used to oppose this matter). The US official added that this decision is partially attributed to the tension in the world oil market and also because the US administration has no reason to prevent that.The US official considered that opening the pipeline does not violate the sanctions imposed on Iraq. He said that Washington has continuously explained to Syria that it cannot violate the international legitimacy, but this does not means that Damascus cannot open the pipe, adding that Syria will get the consent of all members of the UN Security Council when it applies for that. AND, BY WAY OF CONTRAST: http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/001104/2000110406.html * BRITAIN WARNS IRAQ AGAINST OPENING OIL PIPELINE TO SYRIA Arabic News, 4th November [I missed this in the last news digwest PB] The Kuwaiti daily al-Anbaa issued on Friday said that Britain has warned Iraq against the consequences of opening the oil pipeline to Syria and considered this step as depriving the Iraqi people from humanitarian aids, especially if the exports process is made outside the framework of the oil for food agreement. The paper added that the Iraqi oil minister had recently said that Baghdad is intending to reopen the oil pipelines which can transport 200,000 per day. A line which was closed since 1982 following the eruption of the Iraqi- Iranian war. The paper said that according to the oil for food agreement Iraq can only export through two openings: al-Baker port on the Gulf and the Turkish Jeihan port. http://www.timesofindia.com/101100/10indi39.htm * INDIAN MPS ASK ANNAN TO LIFT CURBS ON IRAQ The Times of India News Service. 10th November NEW DELHI: Cutting across party lines, 129 MPs from both Houses on Thursday urged UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to lift the UN embargo on Iraq. Mulayam Singh Yadav, Indrajit Gupta, Mayawati, Jaipal Reddy and S.R. Bommai are some of the prominent signatories of the letter which was sent to Annan. The MPs in their letter have referred to a shocking UNICEF study which reported that the UN embargo has resulted in the death of over five lakh [SIC. OO,OOO?] children under the age of five in Iraq. Other independent studies by US, French and British NGOs also pointed out that lakhs [SIC. hundreds of thousands?] of Iraqi citizens have died of shortage of food and medicine in the wake of UN sanctions, the MPs argued. Despite Iraq complying with the UN resolutions, the embargo continues at a ``horrible human cost,'' the MPs said expressing grave concern, and sought an end to the periodical attacks against Iraq which violate principles of sovereignty and independence of Iraq. They said the sanctions have crippled one of the richest nations of West Asia. http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,395441,00.html * ARAB SUSPECTS LINKED TO BIG OPERATION AGAINST US by Brian Whitaker Guardian, Friday November 10, 2000 Kuwait said yesterday that it was holding three Arabs and was seeking a fourth on suspicion of plotting to attack American interests in the Gulf. An interior ministry statement said three Kuwaitis had been arrested and a north African man carrying a forged passport was still at large. It said the suspects had five hand grenades and 133kg of high explosives. A security source said the suspects were believed to be Islamists. Several other people who were earlier arrested had now been released. "Out of all those investigated, so far only the three Kuwaitis and the north African are expected to face trial. They led authorities to where they had hidden their explosives and gave other information," the security official said. The newspaper Al-Qabas quoted a security source as saying that the suspects were linked to the Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden, and had been planning "a big operation" inside Kuwait, as well as attacks on US targets elsewhere. The arrests came after the US, on a heightened state of alert because of "credible" but unspecified threats, tightened security around its troops in the region. US and British troops are deployed in Kuwait to enforce the no-fly zone over southern Iraq and to protect the tiny oil-rich state from perceived threats from Baghdad. About 5,000 American and 600 British troops live in Kuwait, as well as 8,000 American and 4,000 British civilians. Meanwhile, the US embassy in Yemen confirmed that American experts working to rid Yemen of its landmines had left the country, but gave no explanation. A Yemeni newspaper reported that they had left because of threats. More than 40 FBI agents, investigating last month's suicide attack on the warship USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden, recently left their hotel following threats and are now based offshore, travelling to the mainland by helicopter. Yemeni investigations into the Aden bombing have so far concentrated on local Islamists, though Iraq and Bin Laden have also been suggested as possible culprits. The inflatable which exploded alongside the warship is believed to have been packed with between 180kg and 320kg of C-4, a military explosive. Although C-4 is difficult to acquire, quantities have been stolen. Yemeni investigations suggest that planning of the Aden attack began at least six months ago - which would rule out a direct connection with the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It appears to have been motivated by a more general opposition to US involvement in the Middle East - which is often voiced by Islamist groups, especially in Yemen where the government has made a point of cultivating relations with the Americans. Most armed Islamist groups claim some connection with Bin Laden, though the links can be tenuous and usually arise out of contacts made during the Afghan war. They do not necessarily indicate Bin Laden's involvement in specific actions. Although early reports suggested the bombers must have acquired advance warning of the Cole's arrival, some Yemeni sources consider it more likely that they simply lay in wait for the first suitable target. The Yemeni authorities have rounded up more than 60 people for questioning, and about 10 are still believed to be held. Those questioned include police and officials at a local government office in Lahej, 25 miles north of Aden, where a false driving licence and other documents were issued to a man calling himself Abdullah Ahmed Khaled al-Musawah. He has been tentatively identified as one of the two who apparently killed themselves deliberately in the explosion. In a country where bribery is rife, the issuing of false papers does not necessarily imply a political motive on the part of the officials concerned. http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=14&datee=11/10/00&id =100094 * ASSAD MEETS WITH TOP IRAQI OFFICIAL By Daniel Sobelman, Ha'aretz Correspondent, Friday, November 10, 2000 Syrian President Bashar Assad met in Damascus yesterday with Ezzat Ibrahim al-Duri, a key aide to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Assad and Duri, who is vice-chairman of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council and considered the country's second-in-command, discussed bilateral relations, the situation in the Palestinian Authority and the upcoming Islamic Conference Organization meeting in Qatar. Duri brought greetings from Saddam. This was the first meeting between the two and the first at such a high level of contacts since their countries severed relations some 20 years ago. The thawing of relations that began in 1997 led to the creation of interest offices in Damascus and Baghdad. Assad, who became president in July following the death of his father, spoke with Iraq's vice-president, Tariq Aziz, after his inauguration. Iraq hopes to re-establish full diplomatic relations with Syria in the future. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=2315 * ROW BREWS OVER IRAQ REQUEST FOR CONTROL OVER REVENUES New York | Reuters | 10th November Iraq's request that it be allowed to take control of some oil revenues cuts to core issues on United Nations sanctions and will not be approved, UN diplomats and oil analysts said yesterday. Iraq has asked the United Nations for 1.5 euros from each barrel of crude oil it sells in the UN-administered oil-for-food programme to cover Baghdad's oil production costs. Under the plan, the money would be deposited in a bank account of Iraq's choosing. "That's not allowed by any (UN Security Council) resolution," said a U.S. official. It is Baghdad's intention that "the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organization to incorporate in contracts for the sale of oil a provision to the effect that the sum of 1.5 euros per barrel," [as in original PB] Iraq's UN Ambassador Saeed Hasan said in a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. "(This) should be remitted to a special account designated by SOMO to meet the costs of the production, transportation and exportation of oil, the maintenance of oil-related installations and other essential expenditures within Iraq." At current currency exchange and Iraqi oil export rates, 1.5 euros per barrel would amount to more than $1 billion a year. An Iraqi call to extend the current eighth phase of the oil programme from its expiration by 40 days to January 15 may be Baghdad's way of giving the United Nations time to act on all its demands, said Western diplomats. UN diplomats said Baghdad would need to provide solid justification for an extension to be approved. In the past, they have allowed short extensions. Analysts said Baghdad's demand for money to cover production costs marked its latest salvo in recent efforts to erode the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council in 1990 after Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait, which led to the 1991 Gulf War. It appears designed to give Iraq an opportunity to air its grievances and demands at a time when the world oil market is tightly supplied, analysts and diplomats said. "The Iraqis are either trying to whittle away at sanctions or they're raising issues over which they intend to stop or suspend exports in order to push the envelope with the sanctions issues," said Jareer Elass, analyst with oil consultants Oil Navigator. A UN diplomat on familiar terms with Baghdad, says Iraq increasingly feels oil exports can be suspended because there is about $11.3 billion of oil revenues in a UN escrow account, only about half of which has been earmarked for spending. "My impression is (that Iraq) is saying 'Why should we continue to pump oil if its just to feed the BNP?' " he said. A French diplomat said some additional funding to allow Iraq to maintain and boost oil production is needed beyond the U.N-controlled $1.2 billion it can already spend annually from oil sales for spare parts and equipment. "The oil spare parts are useful, but in the industry, you need more than spare parts," said the French official. "Imagine a plant working only on the basis of spare parts. You need money to pay for services, for experts in the industry." Iraq in recent weeks has raised a number of issues with the United Nations over oil-for-food, getting agreement for the payment of oil sales in euros rather than dollars and saying it wants to start deliveries to Syria outside the programme. In September, it was allowed to lower contributions to a fund for Gulf War victims to 25 per cent from 30 per cent of oil sales. Iraq has also won concessions recently that international civilian flights in and out of Iraq are allowed as long as the UN is notified. The United States and Britain have said Iraq can conduct civilian flights including those that enter no-flight zones as long as they have no military purpose. "Some people may think the United States is sleeping at the wheel and allowing some erosion of sanctions, but (an Iraqi-controlled bank account of oil revenue) is something they can't allow," Elass said. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1016000/1016324.st m * UN COMMITTEE CONDEMNS IRAQ ABUSES BBC World Service, Friday, 10 November, 2000 A United Nations human rights committee has condemned Iraq's alleged use of terror as a tool of oppression. The committee voted a resolution calling on the Iraqi government to bring the actions of its military and security forces in line with the standards of international law. The resolution strongly condemned what it called the systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the government of Iraq. Correspondents say the resolution was the most strongly worded in a series that the committee passed on the human rights situation in several countries. They will be discussed by the UN General Assembly later this month. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4360216&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * SADDAM: 6.6 MILLION VOLUNTEERS, ARMY TO LIBERATE PALESTINE UPI, Fri 10 Nov 2000 Iraq announced Friday that it was no longer accepting volunteers to fight in the Palestinian territories as President Saddam Hussein said some 6.6. million volunteer and his armed forces were ready to fight for the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem. Iraq, which has been recruiting volunteers to participate in what it calls "the liberation of Palestine," has 6.6. million people have signed on to fight in the Palestinian territories. In a letter broadcast on Iraqi media outlets, Hussein said Friday, "Today is the last day for registering the names of volunteers." Hussein apologized to those who were not able to sign on in special offices that had been set up by the ruling Baath Party across the country. "The call to liberate dear Palestine was made so we would have the honor of contributing toward freeing Jerusalem," Hussein said. Among the 6.6 million volunteers, some 120 Iraqis said they were ready to carry out suicide attacks against Israel. Hussein said he would donate 5 million euro for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza while training camps were opened to receive Iraqi volunteers. He also said his army was ready to fight in the region. Iraqi hospitals have treated some 20 Palestinians who were wounded in fighting with Israeli soldiers, and 30 truck loads of Iraqi food and medical aid have gone to the Palestinian territories. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1017000/1017633.st m * ISLAMIC SUMMIT: BREAK TIES WITH ISRAEL BBC News Online, Saturday, 11 November, 2000 Islamic foreign ministers finished their talks ahead of the ninth Islamic summit with an agreement to ask all 56 countries of the Islamic Conference Organisation (OIC) to break off ties with Israel. The proposal follows six weeks of bloodshed in the Israeli-occupied territories which has claimed the lives of nearly 200 Palestinians. The document accuses Israel of war crimes and calls its staunch ally Washington to take a humanitarian stance over Israel's "aggression". However, correspondents say Egypt, Jordan and Turkey - countries which maintain ties with Israel - managed to rebuff Palestinian calls for a draft proposal "demanding" all Muslim countries' ties with Israel be severed. Reports say discussions over the draft statement extended into Friday evening because of the heated dispute over the wording of the document. The summit was saved from collapse on Thursday, when Qatar announced that it was closing the Israeli trade mission in its capital, Doha. Saudi Arabia and Iran had threatened to boycott the summit over Qatar's continued relations with Israel. The proposal also says member countries "are determined to break their relations with any state that transfers its embassy to Jerusalem or recognises the holy city as Israel's capital". It specifically denounces Washington for expressing a desire to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Israel controls but the Palestinians want as the capital of a future state. The document goes on to condemn what it calls Israel's "onslaught," saying "this wanton, dastardly and premeditated Israeli aggression... is a blatant violation of the Palestinian people and their human rights." The OIC's African bloc, led by Gambia, said they needed to consult their governments before supporting a complete break with relations with Israel. Iraq, on the other hand, wanted the proposal to call on Muslim countries to launch a jihad, or holy war, to liberate Palestine, according to an Arab delegate. Morocco, Oman and Tunisia, which all hosted Israeli trade representatives but had no diplomatic ties with Israel, recently closed their offices in light of Israel's response to the Palestinian uprising. In another development, it was reported that Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak would not be attending the summit. The OIC official cited in the report, who spoke on condition of anonymity, gave no explanation for Mr Mubarak's non-attendance, but said he would be represented by the country's prime minister, Atef Ebeid. http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/10/jordan.iraq.planes.reut/index.html * JORDAN TO HELP REHABILITATE GROUNDED IRAQI PLANES November 10, 2000 AMMAN, Jordan (Reuters) -- Jordan has agreed in principle to help Iraq rehabilitate six of its U.S.-built civilian aircraft grounded in Amman for nearly 10 years, the Jordan Times reported on Friday. The newspaper, quoting official sources, said the two countries reached agreement on the Boeing planes during talks held by Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb in Baghdad last week. It said Jordan would provide support to Iraqi maintenance teams in repair efforts. Jordanian Information Minister Taleb al-Rifai was quoted by Al-Arab Al-Yawm daily as saying Jordan did not oppose returning the planes to Iraq. "If there are hurdles, they are primarily technical," Rifai said. Aviation sources say the six Boeings -- four 727's and two 707s -- are not airworthy and require major overhaul. In Baghdad, al-Zawra weekly newspaper reported on Thursday that Jordan would return the planes soon. "Six planes which were in Jordan since 1991 will be back shortly to join the Iraqi fleet of airliners," the weekly quoted a Transport and Communications Ministry official as saying. "The planes will carry Muslim pilgrims to perform this year's pilgrimage rituals," the source added. Iraq dispersed its airliners to foreign airports to protect them against possible attack shortly before the 1991 Gulf War. Iraqi sources say the 37 planes include 15 Boeings of all types and 22 Russian-built Ilyushin 76s. Six of the Boeings are in Amman and four in Tunis. A further five Boeings are in Tehran, together with all 22 Ilyshins. Iraqi Airways last week resumed regular domestic civilian flights. It had been grounded since the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq for Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The only exceptions had been a few flights carrying Iraqi Muslim pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/World/Middle_East/2000 11/baghdad111100.shtml * TRIP TO BAGHDAD FLIES IN FACE OF UN SANCTIONS by Kim Sengupta in Baghdad, Independent, 11 November 2000 The first unauthorised flight from Britain to Iraq since the Gulf War arrived in Baghdad yesterday in defiance of the British and American Governments, plunging the issue of UN sanctions into confusion. The secretly organised flight is the first successful journey from either Britain or America, the two countries most opposed to easing sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime. The organisers, including George Galloway, a Labour MP, claimed a victory last night after the Foreign Office in London, which has always maintained that such missions were illegal, appeared to concede that the flight exploited a loophole in the regulations. This is an embarrassing development for Washington and London, which have repeatedly clashed with the three other permanent members of the UN Security Council Russia, France and China over allowing flights to Iraq. Peter Hain, the Foreign Office minister responsible for the Middle East, this week described the French position that the UN sanctions did not include an air embargo as "contemptible". The flight, which took off from Manston airport in Kent ostensibly heading for a "religious conference" in Bulgaria, wasbacked by the Bulgarian government. Three other countries, Greece, Cyprus and Syria, also accepted the over-flying of their territory. The plane passed undetected through the "no fly" zone to land in Baghdad. Mr Galloway said: "The sanctions are morally wrong and have led to appalling misery and death among the Iraqi people. We have always said that they did not cover civilian flights and the British Government will now be humiliatingly forced to accept that." Mr Hain had blocked previous attempts by Mr Galloway and the Mariam Appeal to organise humanitarian flights to Iraq. They did not seek permission for yesterday's flight from either the British Government or the United Nations. The only religious facet to the journey was the presence on board of a Catholic priest, Fr Noel Barry, a former press officer to Cardinal Thomas Winning and a columnist with the Catholic Times. But it was Fr Barry who became the centre of the drama when, while the flight was being refuelled at the Bulgarian resort of Plovdiv, a call came through from London indicating that the US was aware of the real destination of the plane. FrBarry, the Americans claimed, was carrying cholesterol and angina medicine, both possibly prohibited. The bemused priest saidhe merely had his prescription tablets to counter kidney-stone formation. Another sign that the British and US position on sanctions is weakening came in Baghdad. The city, meant to be isolated by embargoes, is hosting a trade fair with 45 countries, including France, Germany, Belgium, China and Russia, represented. The Iraqi Vice-President, Taha Yassin Ramadan, said: "The embargo has started fizzling out, God willing, with all excuses for keeping it in place falling away." Iraq is pumping 2.3 million barrels of oil a day and has granted lucrative contracts to France, China and Russia. Baghdad has also insisted that it wants the revenue from future oil sales to be in euros, and is converting its £7bn current account holdings because sterling represents "enemy currency". http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/001111/2000111101.html * TURKEY RAISES DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATION WITH IRAQ Arabic News, 11th November Turkish diplomatic sources have announced that Ankara will delegate its new ambassador to Baghdad by the beginning of next year after it had taken a decision to raise its diplomatic representation with Iraq. The same sources added that Turkey also decided to provide the Iraqi civil aviation commission with equipment and train Iraqi technicians on how to use these equipment. The sources continued that a second trade border gate will be opened between Iraq and Turkey in April to facilitate the trade move between the two countries. http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,395890,00.html * BOMBING IN IRAQ AN 'UNDECLARED WAR' LIB DEMS ACCUSE MOD OF MISUSING NO-FLY ZONES by Richard Norton -Taylor, The Guardian, Saturday November 11, 2000 The government was accused yesterday of conducting an undeclared war against Iraq as new figures showed that RAF planes have been dropping an average of four tonnes of bombs a month on the country. Well over 100 bombs - 84 tonnes of weapons - have been dropped on southern Iraq by British aircraft since operation Desert Fox in December 1998. This compares with 2.4 tonnes over the previous six years. The figures were provided by the Ministry of Defence to Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman. "The continuing operations seem to be more designed to degrade Saddam Hussein's air defence systems than to fulfil the role of humanitarian protection," he said last night. He described the legal justification for the no-fly zone policing campaign, which has cost the MoD over £800m, as "doubtful to say the least". Mr Campbell also called for the lifting of all non-military sanctions against Iraq. His remarks, coming at a time when sanctions against Iraq are crumbling fast, are particularly significant since Mr Campbell is close to the Foreign Office establishment. There are many in the FO who believe that the government's policy towards Iraq is unsustainable. The vast majority of bombs - 450 tonnes since December 1998 - have been dropped by US aircraft which police no fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. On all the occasions RAF and US planes have dropped bombs on southern Iraq in recent months they have targeted Iraqi air defence systems. Yet Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, continues to insist that the purpose of the no-fly zones is entirely humanitarian. The zones are not backed up by any UN security council resolution and do not include flights by Iraqi helicopters. Iraq is now flying civilian aircraft over the zones. France and Russia, who are on the security council, recently participated in the Baghdad trade fair. "The sanctions regime is being steadily eroded, aided by certain members of the security council," Mr Campbell said. "If this persists, the authority of the security council and the United Nations will be irretrievably damaged." He said that sanctions "contribute nothing to the policy of containment. They make no difference to Saddam Hussein or his brutality. They damage the lives of the ordinary people of Iraq. They hand Saddam Hussein a gratuitous propaganda advantage. It is time they went." He added: "Ten years of sanctions have driven the Iraqi people into poverty, malnutrition and ignominy and have done nothing to bring Saddam Hussein to heel. Saddam Hussein exploits the existence of sanctions, and he uses them as an excuse. They are his justification for brutality and privations he has imposed on his own people." In Arab capitals, Mr Campbell said, "there is much anxiety and a belief that the Iraqi people have suffered as much as they need to. The Iraqi people are the oppressed not the oppressors. The elite whose survival depends on Saddam are left untouched". -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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://www.casi.org.uk