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NEWS, 12-19/11/00 The main items of interest in all this lot seem to me to be two new bombing raids by the US and UK; Iraqi proposals to levy a sum on oil transactions outside Oil for Food for maintaining the infrastructure of the oil industry; and, in the supplement, the visit to Iraq of former war prisoner, John Nichol, his effort to create sympathy for the Iraqi people, and the fact that this is being supported by the Mirror newspaper. My favourite item is 'Saddam Accepts Gift of Boeing 747' with the quote from the donor, Sheikh Hamid bin Ali Ali-Thani, to the effect that: "There is no political significance to the gift Š it only reflects my true love for Iraq and its wise leadership," * Jordan, Iraq and Syria as fertile Crescent nucleus * Bin Laden denies involvement in Cole explosion * Iraqi Promoted to Chief U.N. Envoy * Russian FM to urge Iraqi to allow inspectors * U.S., Brits Strike Iraqi Radar Site * UN, Iraq to hold comprehensive talks * Iraqis and former GIs to sue in US over depleted uranium * Moves begin for Kuwait, Iraq patchup * Iraq emerges victor of "intifada" summit * Coventry honours German dissident's son over Iraqi work * U.S. Warplanes Pound Iraqi Sites * UN paying dearly for blunders: auditWaste and theft cost $17-million -- but gift shop doing well [extract on misuse of UN funds in northern Iraq] * Aziz Could Visit China End-November * Iraq vetoed nomination of Saudi to head OPEC * Prince Andrew meets emir of Kuwait * Hundreds of Poets Gather in Baghdad * Six killed in bomb attack on cafe in northern Iraqi city of Arbil * Syria says it will resume full diplomatic ties with Iraq * Oil higher on U.S. winter, Iraq worries [an interesting overview of the general oil situation that has put Iraq in a strong bargaining position] * Baghdad renews assault on sanctions [Iraqi proposals to UN for having the means to maintain its oil industry infrastructure] * Iraq beefs up oil price to beat sanctions [Iraqi instructions to its customers independent of the UN for having the means to maintain its oil industry infrastructure] * Annan: sanctions must be more effective * Kuwaiti government expected to resign beginning of next week * Cohen Affirms U.S. Role in Gulf * Saddam Accepts Gift of Boeing 747 * Iraq says more than nine-thousand killed by sanctions * Briton killed, wife injured in Riyadh by suspected car bomb * 'Main elements' arrested in bombing [in Yemen] * Russia's Ivanov has Kuwait talks on Gulf tensions * Cohen: Mideast Violence May Spread [extract on US relations with the United Arab Emirates] * Cohen: Qatar condemns Qatari sanction-buster [extract. The article indicates that Sheikh Hamid bin Ali Ali-Thani wasn't acting on behalf of the Qatari government when he gave Saddam Hussein a Boeing 747. It doesn't actually say that the Qatari government condemned him for it] * Mine blast injures six children in southern Iraq * International Energy Forum underway in Riyadh URLS ONLY I didn't have the heart to include these two latest releases from the Foreign Office. The first is more or less the 'restricted' FO document that was 'obtained' by the Guardian a couple of weeks ago, now recycled as the story of an unnamed 'high level defector'. It gives the extracts the Guardian did not give then but which you read in last week's supplement. The second is based on satellite pictures showing Republican Guards moving boxes around together with news gleaned from the 'debriefing' of yet more defectors. With regard to making out a case against Saddam Huseein I suspect that any subscriber to this list could probably do a better job. http://observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,399714,00.html * Saddam indulges in execution orgy by Paul Harris Observer, Sunday November 19, 2000 http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000579381554028&rtmo=VkjZmmjx&atmo=99999 999&pg=/et/00/11/19/wsad19.html * Saddam stockpiling deadly chemical weapons By Christina Lamb, Diplomatic Correspondent Sunday Telegraph, 19 November 2000 NEWS SUPPLEMENT (sent separately) * U.S. ally Turkey doubting Iraq embargo * John Nichol - Back To My Cell (RAF hero John Nichol's emotional return to Iraq) * John Nichol: Ten years ago I tried to bomb your country yet now we're here as equals. My heart is very full. * Back to Iraq: The people [extract from BBC account of John Nichol's visit to Iraq] * Lift the sanctions against Iraq now [article by John Nichol in The Observer] * Analysis: Bashar's slow, steady start [on Bashar Assad in Syria] * Degraded policy [attack on sanctions policy by Jeremy Hardy in the Guardian] http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/001113/2000111310.html * JORDAN, IRAQ AND SYRIA AS FERTILE CRESCENT NUCLEUS Arabic News, 11/13/2000 [The quality of English in this article is less than poerfect but the idea is interesting PB] The Jordanian daily al-Rai said on Sunday that since cooperation relations between Jordan, Iraq and Syria have been greatly developed and strengthened in way that furnishes for a genuine integration among these states, and will pave the way for the establishment of a central strong nucleus for the unity of the fertile crescent states. In an article by Salamah Akkour issued on Sunday, under the title " the federation of the fertile crescent states.. is the solution," the paper explained that amid the current regional and international changes and transformations and the challenges impeding for the liquidation of the cause of Palestine, there should be a brave initiative and a sincere move for establishing a central nucleus built on three foundations, including Jordan, Iraq and Syria, as an introduction to set up the unity or the federation of the fertile crescent states. The paper added that Lebanon is also prepared to join the banner of such a federation due to historical, geographical and security relations as well as interests linking these states. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=4397705&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * BIN LADEN DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN COLE EXPLOSION UPI, Mon 13 Nov 2000 Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden reportedly denied involvement in the explosion that damaged a U.S. warship off the coast of Yemen last month. Kuwait's al-Rai al-Aam daily on Monday quoted bin Laden as saying that he had no links with those arrested in Yemen on suspicion of carrying out the attack on the USS Cole, and that they did not represent "al-Qaedah" (the base), which he heads. [....] Bin Laden said in a telephone interview with the Kuwaiti paper that his group did not intend to strike U.S. military bases or other U.S. and Arab interests in Kuwait, the Persian Gulf or any other Arab country. Bin Laden, believed to be in hiding in Afghanistan, is wanted by the United States for masterminding the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, in which more than 200 people, including 12 Americans, were killed. The United States recently issued a warning alerting that bin Laden supporters could strike U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf. The Saudi rebel said the warning "does not concern us." In the past week, the Kuwaiti authorities arrested six people on suspicion of plotting suicide attacks in the emirate, where thousands of U.S. troops have been stationed since the end of Iraq's occupation of Kuwait in February 1991. Authorities said they were linked to bin Laden, who denied any connection with them. He said: "The Afghan arena is full of Arab organizations and groups, and one cannot connect them to Osama bin Laden's name just because he is an Arab." Qatar said Sunday it had arrested an Arab from an unnamed north African country linked to bin Laden's al-Qaedah, who had allegedly used a forged Saudi passport to enter the country, where the 56-member Organization of Islamic Conference opened a three-day meeting on Sunday. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=4396907&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * IRAQI PROMOTED TO CHIEF U.N. ENVOY GENEVA (Associated Press, Mon 13 Nov 2000) ‹ Ambassador Mohammed al-Douri, who has represented Iraq before U.N. bodies in Geneva, is being promoted to chief envoy at U.N. headquarters in New York. Al-Douri, a former legal adviser in the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad, formally took over the Geneva post last year after Barzan al-Tikriti, President Saddam Hussein's half-brother, was recalled to Iraq. He will replace Iraq's current U.N. ambassador, Saeed Hasan, who is returning to Baghdad as part of a normal rotation, diplomats said. A spokesman for the Iraqi diplomatic mission in Geneva, who declined to be identified, said Monday that al-Douri would take up his post in New York in one or two months. In an appearance before the 53-nation U.N. Human Rights Commission last spring, al-Douri rejected a resolution that condemned Iraq for its ``all-pervasive repression and oppression'' of the Iraqi people. ``This was a politicized, far from impartial resolution,'' al-Douri told the panel, adding that it was U.S.- and European-backed sanctions that were denying human rights to Iraqis. ``This is simply another one way of pursuing the policy of embargo and bombardment,'' al-Douri said. Al-Tikriti, who headed Iraq's mission in Geneva for 10 years, was among 30 Iraqi ambassadors and other diplomats recalled to Baghdad in the summer of 1998. He then remained in Geneva, deferring his return for several months. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=4400988&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * RUSSIAN FM TO URGE IRAQI TO ALLOW INSPECTORS UPI, Mon 13 Nov 2000 Visiting Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Monday he will discuss with Iraqi officials a number of regional and international issues, including the return to Baghdad of U.N. disarmament experts and ways to lift the 10-year U.N. embargo against the country. Ivanov told reporters in Baghdad that he will "exchange points of view with the Iraqi officials on developments in the Gulf region and the Middle East peace settlement." He said his two-day visit, during which he will deliver a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin to President Saddam Hussein, "comes within the framework of continued contacts to discuss issues of joint interest, including the expansion of cooperation in various fields. Putin's message to the Iraqi president is believed to be related to Baghdad's relationship with the U.N. Security Council and Iraq's continued refusal to allow U.N. disarmament experts to resume their operations in Iraq. Ivanov's talks were to focus on Moscow's views and efforts on ending the 10 year-old international sanctions against Iraq and Baghdad's need to cooperate with new arms inspections. Russia has said it intends to resume regular flights to Iraq, which were halted in line with U.N. policy as a result of Iraq's invasion of neighboring Kuwait in 1990. Ivanov is the highest ranking Russian official to fly directly from Moscow to the Iraqi capital since then. The Russian minister arrived in Iraq on his first leg of a regional tour that will also take him to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Arab diplomats said Ivanov is seeking a stronger role for Russia in trying to resolve Iraq's diplomatic and economic isolation by trying to persuade officials to cooperate with a new international inspection team to ensure that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction. The diplomats said that Moscow "promised to work very hard in the U.N. Security Council to lift the sanctions on Iraq" once Iraq accepts the new arms inspectors. Russia, along with France and China, have been at odds with the two other permanent members of the Security Council -- the U.S. and Britain -- over how to link arms inspections with the lifting of international sanctions. The U.S. and Britain want Iraq to cooperate with inspectors before partially lifting the sanctions, while the other three want to provide an incentive to Baghdad by promising a total end to the sanctions in return for its cooperation with the international experts. During his regional tour, Ivanov is also expected to try to mediate an end to Palestinian-Israeli confrontations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Russia is a cosponsor of the now-frozen Arab Israeli peace process. Its role, however, has been marginalized in recent years as the United States took a more prominent role in trying to broker a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis. The Palestinians have recently been seeking a more active role by Russia amid growing discontent at what they see as Washington support and bias towards Israel. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=4402268&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * U.S., BRITS STRIKE IRAQI RADAR SITE The Associated Press, Mon 13 Nov 2000 BAGHDAD, Iraq (The Associated Press, Mon 13 Nov 2000) ‹ U.S. and British warplanes bombed a military radar site in southern Iraq on Monday after coming under fire, the U.S. military said. The afternoon attack was a response to Iraqi anti-aircraft fire on the allied planes, the U.S. central command, based in Florida, said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press in Cairo. An Iraqi military spokesman acknowledged the attack in a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency, saying it targeted ``civil and service installations'' in Basra, 350 miles south of Baghdad. He did not comment on casualties. [....] http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4400978&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * UN, IRAQ TO HOLD COMPREHENSIVE TALKS UPI, Mon 13 Nov 2000 In a breakthrough, the United Nations and Baghdad said Monday they would soon begin comprehensive talks on 10-year-old Security Council-imposed sanctions of Iraq. Officials making the announcement at the Islamic Conference summit in Doha, Qatar did not give a time or place for the upcoming discussions. Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf said he and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan would hold the talks without preconditions. "After this, there will be a meeting between the two sides at the place to be agreed upon later," he said, adding it could be in New York or another, unidentified, place. Al-Sahaf said the talks would be a good first step in lifting the 10-year-old U.N. embargo on Iraq. In a transcript of a press encounter the secretary-general had at the summit in Doha, released at U.N. headquarters in New York, Annan reported meeting with al-Sahaf and the Vice Chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Council, Izzat Ibrahim. Annan said they discussed "their relations with the United Nations and to find ways and means of breaking the current deadlock, which I consider unhealthy. And we had a frank and useful discussion." [....] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/World/Middle_East/2000-11/iraqi141100.shtm l * IRAQIS AND FORMER GIS TO SUE IN US OVER DEPLETED URANIUM by Kim Sengupta in Baghdad The Independent, 14 November 2000 Iraqi victims of cancer and former American soldiers suffering from Gulf war syndrome are joining forces to sue the US government over use of depleted uranium (DU) missiles. Meetings have been held between US-based families of the Iraqis, former American service personnel and lawyers over legal action in America. Former British personnel who say they have been affected by DU will be invited to join the multi-million-dollar claims. A decade after Operation Desert Storm, lawyers believe there is enough evidence to link the massive rise in cancer in Iraq and the effect on British and American soldiers to almost 950,000 DU missiles and shells fired. A conference will be held in Spain this month, to be attended by international medical experts, Gulf war veterans and lawyers, including Ramsay Clark, a former American attorney general. The impending legal action is likely to dominate the agenda. Among the veterans to address the conference, in Gijon, will be two Gulf war syndrome sufferers, Ray Bristol, a Briton, and the former US sergeant Carol Picou, who gave evidence to a congressional commission on DU munitions. Their lawyers are expected to say the American government "recklessly" used DU, a bi-product of nuclear energy, knowing its devastating effect. DU-hardened missiles have a high penetration rate. When a projectile hits a target, 70 per cent of the DU coating burns and oxidises, bursting into toxic radioactive particles. One of the main arguments expected to be put forward is that American soldiers were not given protective clothing when sent to inspect damage caused by shells coated with DU. In Iraq, campaigners say, almost 250,000 civilians have been affected by DU and there has been a sevenfold leap in cancer, especially among children, and deformities in birth. Unicef, the UN children's organisation, says 4,000 children under five die every month. Professor Ashraf Elbayoumi, a former professor of chemistry at Michigan State University, said yesterday: "There is ample evidence to link the pattern of cancer to DU." At the Saddam Children's Hospital in Baghdad there is a continuous stream of children diagnosed with cancer. And the international ban on trade is biting. Mohammed Firas, the 29-year-old chief resident doctor, shrugged hopelessly at the end of a 19-hour shift. "The number of children we are getting with cancer has gone up 400 per cent," he said. "But we lack the most basic medication. You see these children bleed and die in front of you. I just wish there was more we could do ..." http://www.dawn.com/2000/11/14/int5.htm * MOVES BEGIN FOR KUWAIT, IRAQ PATCHUP Dawn (Pakistan), 14 November 2000, 17 Shaban 1421 DOHA, Nov 13: Arab countries mediated between Iraq and Kuwait on the sidelines of the Islamic summit in Doha on Monday for a thaw in ties and a possible breakthrough meeting between their foreign ministers, Arab diplomats said. The mediators, through separate contacts, were also working on a compromise formula for a final resolution on Iraq at the three-day summit of the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which opened on Sunday. Host country Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were all involved in the efforts to thaw relations between Kuwait and Iraq, the diplomats said. But an Iraqi source said a major sticking-point was Kuwaiti insistence on an Iraqi apology for its 1990 invasion. "It is very difficult. They want a written apology from the Iraqi government. And they want assurances on (war) compensation," the source said. A draft of the resolution yet to be approved by the leaders, refers simply to "the situation between Iraq and Kuwait", rather than "Iraq's aggression against Kuwait", the formula used by the OIC since 1990. The Iraqi source said the issue of mending fences with Kuwait would figure on the agenda of talks between UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Iraq's top delegate to the summit, Ezzat Ibrahim. The toned-down wording in the draft was in keeping with the OIC charter, which calls for solidarity between member countries, although the proposed resolution still urges Iraq to implement UN resolutions linked to the invasion.-AFP http://www.voila.co.uk/News/afp/int/001114104930.4xuc0fub.html * IRAQ EMERGES VICTOR OF "INTIFADA" SUMMIT DOHA (Agence France Presse, 14th November): In its campaign to shake off sanctions, Iraq emerged the big victor of the "intifada summit" in the Qatari capital where the Palestinians failed to secure concrete action from the world's Muslim countries. Despite hard-hitting words against Israel's "massacres," the Jewish state's ties with Islamic countries such as Turkey and in Africa remained intact, apart from summit host Qatar's decision to close an Israeli trade office. Iraq, in contrast, made solid gains at an international forum for the first time since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) gave the green light for its 56 members to ignore a UN air embargo on Baghdad and implicitly called for an end to the "illegitimate" US and British air strikes on Iraq. Iraqi grievances were also addressed in a final resolution, released after the summit's overnight close, that at the same time called upon Baghdad to "complete" the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions. The tone in Doha, a supporter of lifting the UN sanctions in force since the invasion, was far milder than previous OIC resolutions condemning Iraq's "aggression" against its neighbour. The Doha resolution was "a big turning-point" in Iraq's relations with the outside world, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told reporters. The OIC's call for Iraq and the United Nations to launch a "comprehensive dialogue" coincided with a meeting on the sidelines of the conference between UN chief Kofi Annan and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's No.2, Ezzat Ibrahim. Iraq itself announced an agreement with the UN secretary general for just such a dialogue with the world body "without preconditions", following an almost year-long stalemate over a disarmament resolution. Annan gave a more cautious assessment, saying no mechanism had yet been worked out for the renewal of a formal dialogue with Iraq, which initiated the meeting. The close of the two-day OIC summit itself was marred by a last-gasp protest from Kuwait over the mild wording of the resolution on its former occupier. The summit, whose ambition was to form a united Muslim front against Israel, limited itself largely to moral support for the Palestinians whose six-week-old uprising or "intifada" against Israel has claimed around 220 lives, mostly Palestinians. Leaders of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims "invited" Islamic countries to break ties with Israel in retaliation for the bloodshed and expressed "total confidence" in the Palestinian leadership. http://www.voila.co.uk/News/afp/int/001113230136.yz7edp06.html * Islamic summit "invites" Muslim states to break ties with Israel adds this detail: The OIC also decided to hold its next summit in Kuala Lumpur in 2003 and for Abdulwahid Belkziz to replace Laraki, a fellow Moroccan, as secretary general of the organisation. There is an Israeli analysis, which doesn't add very much at: http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=14&datee=11/14/00&id =100393 * Analysis / No big gains for Arafat at OIC Ha'aretz, 14th November http://www.voila.co.uk/News/afp/uk/001114152541.nqd8s6h1.html * COVENTRY HONOURS GERMAN DISSIDENT'S SON OVER IRAQI WORK byKarim Sahib LONDON (AFP) - - The British city of Coventry, devastated by German bombs during World War II, was on Tuesday honouring a German diplomat whose father tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Graf Hans von Sponeck was awarded the Coventry International Prize for Peace and Reconciliation in recognition of his own humanitarian work in Iraq. Von Sponeck resigned from his job with the United Nations because he said the international sanctions against Iraq -- which are backed by Britain -- are inhumane. His father, Count General Hans von Sponeck, was jailed in 1942 for disobeying Hitler's orders and withdrawing 120,000 soldiers from Russia. He later took part in the failed 1944 plot to kill Hitler, for which he was executed. "It is most fitting that our international prize for peace and reconciliation should be awarded to a German diplomat," said Canon Andrew White of Coventry Cathedral. "He has committed his life to working for the most vulnerable in society and like his father, has sacrificed his career and position for the sake of justice." White added: "Graf Hans von Sponeck only knew his father in prison. He accepts this prize both as an acknowledgement of his father's courage and his own." Until his resignation in March this year, Von Sponeck was the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. He now spends his time campaigning for a softening of the sanctions regime. Like the German city of Dresden, Coventry, in central England, has become synonymous with the devastation caused by war-time bombing. Relentless bombing raids and the huge fireballs they caused destroyed much of the city and killed hundreds of residents. The presentation of this year's award coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Coventry blitz. German officials are due to arrive in the city to take part in the ceremony. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=4410288&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * U.S. WARPLANES POUND IRAQI SITES ANKARA, Turkey (Associated Press, Tue 14 Nov 2000) ‹ Responding to Iraqi fire, U.S. jets on Tuesday bombed Iraqi air defense systems in the northern no-fly zone, the U.S. military said in a statement. The U.S. warplanes bombed air defense sites after Iraqi forces opened anti-aircraft artillery fire at U.S. planes patrolling an area near Mosul, some 250 miles north of Baghdad. All planes left the area safely, the Germany-based U.S. European Command said in a statement. The United States and Britain have been enforcing no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Planes patrolling the northern zone are based in the southern Turkish base of Incirlik. Iraq, which regards the zones as violations of its territorial sovereignty, has been challenging the patrols since December 1998. Tuesday's incident was the third time U.S. jets were threatened in the area since mid-August. http://www.nationalpost.com/home/story.html?f=/stories/20001114/369578.html * UN PAYING DEARLY FOR BLUNDERS: AUDITWASTE AND THEFT COST $17-MILLION -- BUT GIFT SHOP DOING WELL by Steven Edwards, National Post (Canada), November 14, 2000 UNITED NATIONS - Winter descends on northern Iraq without fail each year, but that did not stop United Nations officials being caught out by the annual drop in temperatures. By forgetting the sequence of seasons last year, they had to pay "emergency" prices for winter supplies to care for refugees in northern Iraq, an area administered by the world body. The cost of the relief effort was 61% higher than necessary, according to the annual report of the UN's internal audit service. Purchases were made "on an exigency basis, even though the requirements were known in October," says the report, produced by the Office of Internal Oversight Services. The finding is just one in a litany of examples of UN mismanagement, sloppy bookkeeping and fraud uncovered by OIOS during the 12 months preceding June 30. [....] http://www.insidechina.com/news.php3?id=220976§ion=default * AZIZ COULD VISIT CHINA END-NOVEMBER BAGHDAD, Nov 15, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz is set to visit China at the end of November as part of Baghdad's mounting diplomatic campaign to lift a decade of crippling sanctions, a diplomatic source said Wednesday. Aziz will hold talks in Beijing with senior Chinese officials on the "need to lift the embargo as well as bilateral cooperation", the source said. "The current international context encourages Iraq to intensify its action to garner more support and get the Iraqi issue moving after a stalemate of more than one year," he said. Aziz, who was last in Beijing in January, could visit Moscow after China to follow up on talks held in Baghdad with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, he said. Iraq announced at the Islamic summit that ended Monday an agreement with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the sidelines of the summit for a "comprehensive dialogue" with the United Nations after an almost year-long impasse. The UN secretary general, however, added a note of caution to the Iraqi announcement of renewed contacts. "We didn't agree to any mechanism as such. I have to review what we have discussed and we'll determine how we are going to proceed," he said after talks with President Saddam Hussein's No. 2 Ezzat Ibrahim. China has adopted a position within the UN Security Council favorable to Iraq, urging that sanctions imposed on Baghdad during its 1990 invasion of Kuwait be lifted. http://ogj.pennnet.com/Content/cd_anchor_article/1,1052,OGJ_7_NEWS_SUB_85310 _2,00.html * IRAQ VETOED NOMINATION OF SAUDI TO HEAD OPEC by Darius Snieckus, OGJ (Oil & Gas Journal) Online, 15th November LONDON‹Kuwaiti Oil Minister Saud Nasser Al-Sabah Tuesday disclosed that Iraq blocked Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish, Saudi Arabia's representative to the board of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, from being elected secretary-general. He said the other ten OPEC nations supported Al-Herbish to succeed Rilwanu Lukman during the group's meeting last weekend in Vienna. OPEC subsequently named Alí Rodríguez Araque, Venezuela's Minister of Energy and Mines and the current OPEC president, as the new secretary general. Al-Sabah questioned whether Iraq should be permitted to exercise the rights of full membership in OPEC after vetoing the group's first choice of secretary general, and after being many years in arrears on its membership dues. The minister, in London to speak at the Oil & Money conference, said the selection of Rodriguez was "a very good decision." He said, "Unfortunately, Iraq had vetoed the Saudi nominee. And the only way to get out of this impasse was‹and I think it was a wise decision‹to ask Alí Rodríguez to become secretary general." "This is not a new [problem]," Al-Sabah added, "we have long had historically had difficulties in electing a secretary-general because of political problems." He described Al-Herbish as a "very capable man" Iraq's membership, Al-Sabah said, should be "reviewed" in light of its delegates' actions during the election over the weekend. "In my opinion, you have to apply the rules of the United Nations to this issue," he suggested. "A member of OPEC that has not paid its dues for so many years [should not be allowed to] exercise full rights of membership, and, furthermore, the right of veto. We may need to review the statutes of the organization itself [in the future]." Rodríguez, the "architect" of OPEC's troubled price band mechanism, will begin his 3-year term on Jan. 1, 2001. Algeria's Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil becomes president of the organization. http://www.voila.co.uk/News/afp/uk/001115152156.jw4e8xvk.html * PRINCE ANDREW MEETS EMIR OF KUWAIT KUWAIT CITY (AFP, 15th November) - - Prince Andrew has held talks with Kuwait's emir and other senior officials on the first day of his four-day visit to the oil-rich emirate. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, met the Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, as well as other senior officials, the official KUNA news agency said on Wednesday. The prince also visited the "Britain in Kuwait" trade fair and took part in a folk Kuwaiti dance. On Thursday, he is due to visit British air force crews at Ali al-Salim air base, 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Kuwait City. A squadron of 12 RAF Tornado fighters and 400 personnel help enforce the no-fly zone imposed by Britain and the United States over southern Iraq. The prince, who is due to visit Saudi Arabia and Oman after Kuwait, will also tour a naval base and the Kuwait Scientific Center for the conservation of wildlife. Prince Andrew, a 40-year-old Royal Navy officer who saw active service as a helicopter pilot during the 1982 Falklands War, is visiting Kuwait for the third time in the past two years. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4429019&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * HUNDREDS OF POETS GATHER IN BAGHDAD BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Wed 15 Nov 2000) ‹ Iraq revived one of its grandest cultural traditions Wednesday when more than 250 poets and intellectuals from Arab and other nations gathered for the opening of the Mirbad Poetry International Festival. The festival, which has a heritage stretching back more than 1,400 years, was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, who praised the role of poetry in Arab society and took the opportunity to reiterate common themes in Baghdad's current political discourse: Iraq's struggle to have U.N. sanctions lifted and the conflict between Palestinians and Israel. ``Poetry today is at its height,'' Aziz said. ``The uprising in Palestine and the situation in Iraq have revived the Arab street.'' The original Mirbad poetry gathering dates to the early days of the Islamic state more than 1,400 years ago and was itself a revival of a pre-Islamic poetry festival known as Suq Ukaz that was held in the Arabian Peninsula. The festival was halted in the Middle Ages after invaders from central Asia reduced Baghdad from one of the most glorious cities on earth to a provincial backwater. It was not held again until 1971 when Saddam Hussein ‹ then the country's strongman but not yet president ‹ breathed a new life into the festival as part of a campaign to reclaim Baghdad's place as political and cultural capital of the Arab world. It has been held since then except for a few years after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. This year, 200 participants from 10 Arab nations are in attendance, while 50 have come from various European and Asian countries. Most took a 12-hour car ride from neighboring Jordan, as the U.N. sanctions imposed on Iraq since 1990 ban regular international passenger flights in and out of the country. Palestinian poet Mohammed al-Qaysi, Jordanian poet Ibrahim al-Khatib and two well-known Iraqi poets ‹ Abdel Razaq Abdel Wahid and Raad Bandr ‹ were chosen to open the festival with their poems. http://members.home.net/kurdistanobserver/16-11-00-afp-six-died-arbil.html * SIX KILLED IN BOMB ATTACK ON CAFE IN NORTHERN IRAQI CITY OF ARBIL ANKARA, Nov 16 (AFP) Six people have been killed and 17 others wounded in a bomb attack on a cafe in the city of Arbil, in Kurdish-populated northern Iraq, an official from a local faction told AFP Thursday. "Four people were killed on the spot and two others died in hospital after a person on a motorbike hurled explosives on a tea shop on Tuesday," said Safeen Dizayee, the Ankara representative of the northern Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). "We don't know yet who is behind this attack that came as a shock for us. It aims to destablise the situation in the region where there were no such attacks for several years," Dizayee said. "A serious investigation has been launched into the incident," he added. Control over Northern Iraq, which has been outside Baghdad's control since the end of the 1991 Gulf War, is shared by the KDP, led by Massoud Barzani, and by its arch-rival, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Jalal Talabani. The region is also used by the Turkish Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as a jumping board for attacks on Turkish territory that have prompted the Turkish army to carry out frequent incursions into the area with the support of KDP fighters. The PUK, which had enjoyed close ties with the PKK in the past, has recently also clamped down on the rebels. Both the KDP and PUK have recently been complaining of PKK attacks in their areas, which led to fighting and loss of life. Turkey's military says some 5,000 PKK militants have crossed over to northern Iraq since last September when the PKK said it was laying down its arms and withdrawing from Turkey to seek a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish conflict in Turkey. But the army has played down the peace bid as a "ploy," saying that the rebels should either surrender or face the army. http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/15/syria.iraq.reut/index.html * SYRIA SAYS IT WILL RESUME FULL DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH IRAQ CNN, November 15, 2000 DAMASCUS, Syria (Reuters) -- Syria will upgrade its ties with Iraq to full diplomatic relations, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara said Wednesday. He told a news conference that Syria was promoting relations with Baghdad in a step-by-step process. "Over two years ago we started ties with our Iraqi brothers. It is not a secret that there is now an interests bureau (at the Algerian embassy in Damascus). This bureau will be developed to an office of full diplomatic relations," Shara said. "We realize that these ties are very sensitive and we should succeed in building them step by step," Shara said. [.....] http://www.individual.com/story.shtml?story=d1115154.401 * OIL HIGHER ON U.S. WINTER, IRAQ WORRIES November 15, 2000 LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Wednesday after a decline in already depleted heating oil stocks in the United States and a threatened halt of Iraqi exports sent shivers through the global oil market. Brent crude oil ended up $1.24 a barrel at $33.93 a barrel just below the session peak at $34 but some way off the 10-year high of $35.30 seen on October 12. U.S. light crude oil was up 73 cents at $35.60. With colder weather approaching, winter supply jitters were reinforced by data from the American Petroleum Institute that showed a 665,000-barrel drop in U.S. heating oil stocks leaving supplies more than 30 percent below this time last year. The data was confirmed on Wednesday afternoon by a Department of Energy report, which showed a 500,000 barrel fall in heating oil supplies, but a rise in crude and gasoline stocks. "Crude and heating oil inventories remain alarmingly, stubbornly low,'' U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson told executives and ministers at a lunch in London. IRAQ SEEKS 50-CENT PREMIUM Adding to the concern, Iraq, which sells about five percent of the world's crude oil exports, has informed its customers that from December 1 it wants a 50-cent premium paid on each barrel of crude outside United Nations-controlled accounts. "They've contacted everybody by phone. (They said) the ones who don't do it won't get new contracts,'' said one crude oil trader with a European company. But most major companies say they will be unable to comply with the request as it would mean circumventing the U.N.'s sanctions on Baghdad, which require funds from the sale of oil put into special escrow accounts for food and humanitarian aid. This sets up yet another potential conflict between Iraq and the U.N. after a series of moves in the past few weeks -- including a switch for payment to euros from dollars and a request to extend the current oil-for-food programme. The constant threat of interruption to the supply of oil has kept markets on edge, particularly with a cold front now headed to the U.S. northeast, where heating oil stocks are about 40 percent below last year's level. "On middle distillates there is panic in the market,'' said Nigel Saperia, oil trader at Glencore in London. "It's a chilly feeling knowing that OPEC producers are close to full capacity. Overall there is no shortage of oil'' but there are acute shortages in localised areas like the U.S. northeast, he added. U.S. CALLS FOR MORE SUPPLIES The U.S. remains concerned about supply shortages despite views by market analysts and by oil cartel OPEC that crude supplies would exceed demand in the coming months. "We still think there's a supply problem; that the world needs more production,'' Richardson said during an interview on CNBC news network. He said current prices of around $34 were too high, that the Clinton administration would prefer crude to drop to the $20-to-$25 price range and that a re-opening of the U.S.' strategic petroleum reserves was still "on the table.'' In October the U.S. started to release 30 million barrels of specially held reserve crude oil in an effort to ease prices off highs not seen since the 1990 Gulf War. OPEC ministers on Monday gave little cause for markets to retreat as they ratified an agreement to keep output quotas unchanged after raising supplies four times this year. Officials from top oil producers and consumer nations will hold a key meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where Richardson said he hoped "dialogue may help the stability of the oil market.'' Richardson will fly to Riyadh later on Wednesday. The cartel predicts that prices will soon fall within its $22-$28 target range as the full impact of the group's 3.7 million barrels per day rise this year hits the market. OPEC meets again on January 17 by which time analysts expect a year-on-year deficit in inventories to have turned into a surplus. http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT3CCOQZLFC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZINS5VA0C&subheading=middle%20east%20and%20africa * BAGHDAD RENEWS ASSAULT ON SANCTIONS by Carola Hoyos, UN Correspondent, in New York Financial Times, Thursday Nov 16 2000 In its latest attempt to undermine United Nations sanctions, Baghdad has demanded the UN transfer an estimated E1bn ($860m) a year to a local account. In a letter to Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, Amir Rashid, Iraq's oil minister, insisted that E1.50 for each barrel of oil it sells be wired to an account designated by Somo, Iraq's state oil company, so it can pay the local costs associated with upkeep of the country's oil industry. The UN Security Council must approve the request for it to become legal. Diplomats expect to take up the issue in early December when they review the UN's oil for food programme, which allows Iraq to sell oil and to use the revenues to buy food and other humanitarian goods and repay its Gulf war debts. "They are pushing the envelope and they are not going to succeed on this one," a UK official said. But another diplomat said that such a measure was within the realm of UN sanctions, although admitting it was likely to be a divisive issue within the Council. It is not clear whether Baghdad will try to get around the UN by pressing its customers into paying a service fee that would go directly to an Iraqi account. If this were the case it would be Iraq's boldest attempt yet to undermine sanctions. The demand is Baghdad's latest attempt to take advantage of waning international support for the UN's decade-long sanctions regime. In the past several months Iraq has managed to reduce the percentage of its revenue that goes to paying its war debt. Baghdad also recently forced the UN to allow it to pay for Iraq oil in euros, rather than dollars, in a protest against Washington's tough stance. Meanwhile more than 50 flights, many of them originating in Arab countries, have landed in Baghdad in the last few months, forcing the Security Council to revise procedures on the issue. France and the US are expected to approve the detailed procedures by the end of this week. http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT38BDX2NFC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZINS5VA0C&subheading=middle%20east%20and%20africa * IRAQ BEEFS UP OIL PRICE TO BEAT SANCTIONS Financial Times, Friday Nov 17 2000 by Carola Hoyos in New York, Ruth Sullivan in London and Hillary Durgin in Houston In its boldest attempt to undermine United Nations sanctions since their inception in 1990, Iraq is trying to strong-arm its oil customers into paying an estimated $400m a year into an Iraqi account outside the UN's monitoring system. Iraq's state-owned oil company, Somo, which exports 2.1m barrels of oil a day, has told its customers to pay a 50 cent per barrel premium into an account in Jordan or risk losing their contracts. "This would be a breach of sanctions not only Iraq must take account of, but any trader unwise enough to respond," said Jeremy Greenstock, the UK's ambassador to the UN. Diplomats and industry analysts say they expect some companies will break sanctions so as not to jeopardise their relationship with Baghdad. Iraq not only exports 5 per cent of the world's crude oil but also has the world's second largest proven oil reserves, which international companies are lining up to tap into once sanctions are lifted. "I don't believe that all secondary sources would refuse, because they would break even or even lose money to have access to Iraqi crude," said Antonio Szabo, president of Stone Bonds, a Houston-based energy consulting company, referring to companies that buy Iraqi crude from middlemen. [.....] http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4436308&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * ANNAN: SANCTIONS MUST BE MORE EFFECTIVE United Press International, Wed 15 Nov 2000 Secretary-General Kofi Annan Wednesday called for "more effective and just" sanctions only days after announcing plans for comprehensive discussions with the Iraqi leadership on an increasingly porous 10-year-old Security Council-imposed embargo. In remarks prepared for delivery at an International Rescue Committee dinner in New York, the Secretary-General said, "we may not resolve this issue in a day or in a year" but he believed that "over time," sanctions can be more effective and just. Increasingly, he said, "the use of sanctions has given rise to concerns. These concerns relate, of course to Iraq, but also to the many other states that are the subjects of sanctions." The effectiveness of sanction regimes must be improved if it is to remain available for use in the future, he added. "After verbal condemnation, sanctions may often be the first, and easiest, response employed by the Security Council to a state in violation of international law," he said, but sanctions also have led to tragedy and unintended results. At times they have inadvertently strengthened the hold on power of governments or groups whose acts triggered sanctions in the first place. This, in turn, leads to the international community prolonging sanctions, which can push desired change farther away. It is this sanctions cycle that must be broken, Annan said. Annan cited a recent, unidentified study, which raised "serious doubts: about the effectiveness of sanctions, their scope and severity. "Too often innocent civilians have become victims not only of the abuses of their own government, but also of the measure taken against it by the international community," he said. "They are thus doubly victimized. "Indeed, those in power not only transfer the cost to the less privileged, but perversely often benefit from sanctions-by their ability to control and profit from black market activity, by controlling the distribution of the limited resources and by making sanctions a pretext for eliminating domestic opposition," the secretary-general said. "Over time, the existence of a sanctions regime almost inevitably transforms an entire society for the worse, as sanctions-evaders, smugglers and the like rise to the top of the socio-economic ladder and normal economic development is stifled. While saying he deeply regrets "the continuing suffering of the Iraqi people and hopes that the sanctions imposed on Iraq can be lifted sooner rather than later," Annan said it "demands that we find a way - somehow -- to move the Iraqi government into compliance with Security Council resolutions." The upcoming talks with the Iraqi leadership were announced at the just-concluded Islamic Conference summit in Doha, Qatar. A time or place for the discussions has not been agreed on. Annan said he had discussed with Iraqi officials at the meeting finding ways "of breaking the current deadlock, which I consider unhealthy." SEE ALSO: http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/18/iraq.un.reut/index.html * Iraqi paper plays down U.N. talks on sanctions CNN, November 18, 2000 [Babel, saying it was unlikely that Annan could do much to help] http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/001116/2000111610.html * KUWAITI GOVERNMENT EXPECTED TO RESIGN BEGINNING OF NEXT WEEK Arabic News, 11/16/2000 Kuwaiti political sources told the Kuwaiti daily al-Seyasah issued on Wednesday that the Kuwaiti government will submit its resignation by the beginning of next week. The sources expected the Kuwaiti government to make this step because of the reasons that several Kuwaiti parliament members called for investigating the minister of electricity, waters and minister of state for housing affairs Adel al-Sabeih, following the weekly meeting of the Cabinet next Monday, due to housing problems in Kuwait. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4434104&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * COHEN AFFIRMS U.S. ROLE IN GULF MANAMA, Bahrain (Associated Press, Thu 16 Nov 2000) ‹ Five weeks after terrorists attacked the USS Cole in Yemen, Defense Secretary William Cohen is trying to shore up military ties in the Persian Gulf region and to send a message that "we're not leaving.'' En route to this home port for the Navy's 5th Fleet, Cohen told reporters he has "taken additional measures as far as security is concerned'' and ordered the service chiefs to review "what other measures should be taken'' to protect U.S. forces. He would not provide specifics. Against the backdrop of Middle East violence and erosion of support for economic sanctions against Iraq, Cohen said he made his ninth ‹ and probably last ‹ trip to the Middle East to thank U.S. troops and tell U.S. military partners he "appreciated their strong support.'' Under the tightest security, Cohen's itinerary included Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. U.S. forces are on the highest alert level, "threatcon delta,'' in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and six Kuwaitis have been arrested on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks on U.S. and Western forces. Cohen said he would not discuss recent comments of sailors on the Cole that sentries were carrying unloaded weapons and ordered not to shoot unless fired upon, but he said the plan to attack the destroyer was "long in the making'' as an effort to drive the United States from the region. "We're not leaving,'' he said. While the crippled Cole began its journey to the United States by a longer route that avoided the Suez Canal, Cohen said the Navy would not give in to threats by staying out of the waterway. "We will plan to move ships (through the canal) when they're scheduled to move through and they haven't been scheduled recently,'' he commented. "There's been no change in our plan in operations in the Suez.'' The Pentagon has said the Cole's route home was dictated primarily by bad weather. The Navy's Judge Advocate General's office is investigating the explosion that ripped a 40-by-40 foot hole in the ship, killing 17 sailors and, apparently two suicide bombers in a small attacking boat during refueling in Yemen Oct. 12. Cohen said he wanted to stress to leaders in the region that while he understands the sympathetic feelings for the Iraqi population, economic sanctions are still needed because Iraqi President Saddam Hussein cannot be provided with "unrestricted revenue to go for building his war machine.'' "Saddam Hussein himself is responsible for the infliction of that suffering.'' Cohen must contend not only with the sanctions issue on this trip, but Arab perceptions of a pro Israel tilt since violence erupted between Israelis and the Palestinians. At a just-ended Arab summit in Doha, Qatar, Saudi Arabia blamed the United States for the collapse of peace talks and Iraq gained sympathy in its fight to end sanctions. The gathering ended with calls for participants to break all ties with Israel. Cohen acknowledged the Arabs had "a sense of disappointment and some obvious anger'' about breakdown of the peace process but insisted "fundamentally, it has not changed our relationship.'' http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=4448310&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * SADDAM ACCEPTS GIFT OF BOEING 747 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Thu 16 Nov 2000) ‹ Iraq has increased its small domestic airline fleet by one more plane, thanks to the gift Thursday of a Boeing 747 from the president of a Persian Gulf regional airline. Sheik Hamad bin Ali Al Thani of the carrier Air Gulf Falcon presented the white plane with blue stripes in a ceremony at Saddam International Airport. "The present expresses my solidarity with the Iraqi people and President Saddam Hussein,'' Sheik Hamad said. "There is no political significance to the gift. ... It only reflects my true love for Iraq and its wise leadership.'' President Saddam Hussein said the plane would be used by the state-run Iraqi Airways. Sheik Hamad, a Qatari who also founded his own country's national carrier Qatar Airways in 1994, formed Air Gulf Falcon in the United Arab Emirates in 1999. Iraq's fleet of 15 Boeing airliners was flown out to Jordan, Iran and Tunisia to escape bombing during the 1991 Gulf War and it has not been able to retrieve them. Iraq used old Russian-made military cargo planes when it resumed domestic flights earlier this month. The resumption of domestic flights followed the arrival in Baghdad of dozens of international flights from non-governmental organizations and foreign countries seeking an end to U.N. sanctions imposed to punish Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1990. http://www.abc.net.au/ra/newsdaily/s213386.htm * IRAQ SAYS MORE THAN NINE-THOUSAND KILLED BY SANCTIONS Iraq says more than nine-thousand Iraqis, most of them children, died in October because of United Nations sanctions imposed on the country since 1990. The Iraqi health ministry says more than six-thousand-300 children under five and three-thousand adults died from diarrhea, heart and respiratory problems and malnutrition. Iraq says it has suffered more than 140-Billion dollars in economic losses since the embargo was imposed following its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. http://www.voila.co.uk/News/afp/uk/001117151930.3vfzp2bz.html * BRITON KILLED, WIFE INJURED IN RIYADH BY SUSPECTED CAR BOMB RIYADH (AFP, 17th November) - - A Briton died and his wife was slightly injured when a suspected car bomb wrecked their four-wheel drive vehicle in the central shopping district of the Saudi capital, police announced. "It is suspected to have been an explosive charge that was in the car," Riyadh police chief Mohammad Salah Al-Barad told the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA). Witnesses at the scene on Friday told AFP the man lost a leg and an arm in the blast but was pulled alive from the wreckage. Barad said the fatal victim was a British expatriate working in the kingdom and that he died in hospital from severe injuries. His wife was released from the hospital after treatment. An inquiry was underway into the explosion, which coincided with the opening in the Saudi capital of a major oil forum attended by 400 delegates, many of them government ministers. The blast, which took place at 1:20 pm (1120 GMT), scattered debris over a wide area The security services evacuated two buildings along the road near Olaya Street, a main thoroughfare, and carried out a search. Police closed off surrounding roads, and officers meticulously gathered up pieces of debris scattered over a wide area. The US and British energy secretaries are among those attending the 7th International Energy Forum. At the same time, US Defense Secretary William Cohen is in the region on a week-long tour and was last reported to have been in neighboring Oman on Thursday. He is due to travel to Saudi Arabia, but the details of his itinerary are being kept secret for security reasons. Cohen was to hold talks in the region on terrorism, following the October 12 bombing of the US destroyer Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden that killed 17 sailors, on the Israel-Palestinian conflict and on US efforts to keep Iraq isolated, Pentagon officials said. http://www.washtimes.com/world/default-2000111722134.htm * 'MAIN ELEMENTS' ARRESTED IN BOMBING Washington Times, November 17, 2000 MANAMA, Bahrain ‹ Yemen said yesterday it had captured suspects in last month's bombing of the USS Cole, while Defense Secretary William S. Cohen visited the region to shore up military ties in the Persian Gulf region and to send the message: "We're not leaving." In Aden, authorities said they expect to close soon the investigation of the Cole bombing, which killed 17 American sailors, Yemen's interior minister said in remarks published yesterday. "Security bodies have recently arrested a number of main elements accused in the incident," Interior Minister Hussein Mohammed Arab told September 26, the state-run weekly. He did not give further details about the suspects. "The investigation in the case will finish shortly and the case will be referred to the prosecutor's office and the judiciary during the coming few weeks," Mr. Arab said. "Cooperation and coordination with the Americans is continuing in a good fashion and our American friends understand the situation well and are satisfied about the cooperation." U.S. officials have complained about U.S. investigators not getting full access to witnesses and suspects. Yemen has vowed full cooperation. [The rest is on William Cohen's visit to the region and much the same as 'Cohen affirms US role in Gulf' above PB] http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/18/russia.kuwait.reut/index.html * RUSSIA'S IVANOV HAS KUWAIT TALKS ON GULF TENSIONS CNN, November 18, 2000 KUWAIT (Reuters) -- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov arrived in Kuwait on Saturday to discuss tension in the oil-rich Gulf region 10 years after the Gulf War. The minister said before rushing to a meeting with Kuwait's ruler Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al Sabah that the situation in the Gulf would be discussed. He did not elaborate. Ivanov said in a brief arrival statement that he would also talk about the more than seven weeks of clashes between Israel and Palestinians in which some 240 people, mostly Arabs, have been killed. Prior to Ivanov's arrival, several Kuwaiti officials had said they were not aware of media reports of a Russian proposal to end the enmity with former occupier Iraq or form a regional security body with the participation of Iraq and non-Arab Iran. Ivanov is on a regional tour and has already visited Iraq and held talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Kuwait has set conditions to consider improving ties with Baghdad almost 10 years after a U.S. led military alliance forced Iraqi troops out of the Gulf Arab state. Kuwait has said that Iraq should first implement all Gulf crisis-related United Nations resolutions, apologize for the August 2, 1990 invasion and release some 600 people, mostly Kuwaitis, missing since the 1990-91 crisis. But Iraq has denied any knowledge about the whereabouts of the missing. Saudi Arabia, too, has so far rejected any direct dealings with an Iraq ruled by President Saddam Hussein. Diplomatic sources said Ivanov was expected to also touch on what Moscow believes is aid to Muslim Chechen rebels from some groups in Kuwait and the region. Kuwait is linked to the five U.N. Security Council permanent members, including Russia, with a joint security and defense pact. Some Islamist politicians in Kuwait have said that explosives found with an alleged sabotage group arrested in Kuwait in recent days were for export to fellow [Muslims? PB] the Chechens. But security sources have said the explosives were to be used against several targets in Kuwait and the region, mainly U.S. facilities and interests. U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen is due in Kuwait on Sunday as part of a regional tour and he is expected to be briefed on the plot to attack U.S. targets. He has already said such attacks will not drive the United States from the region where it has a large military presence, including forces in Kuwait conducting operations over Iraq's southern no fly zone. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4475364&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * COHEN: MIDEAST VIOLENCE MAY SPREAD DOHA, QATAR (Associated Press, Sat 18 Nov 2000) [.....] Before arriving at Qatar, Cohen met with officials of the United Arab Emirates, a confederal of seven states that has become a major buyer of F-16 aircraft and, until recently, was a major port for servicing U.S. aircraft carriers and for recreation visits by U.S. sailors. The visits were temporarily stopped after the Cole bombing. A squadron of U.S. refueling tankers is based in the country. The UAE has accepted a large number of ships seized by the U.S. Navy while they were trying to smuggle oil out of Iraq in violation of the U.N. sanctions. The ships and cargo are sold at auction, with proceeds going to victims of the Gulf War. The UAE also has sent Apache helicopters to Kosovo for peacekeeping operations and its forces work jointly with U.S. Apache crews. The principal symbol of the relationship, however, is the UAE's agreement to purchase top-of-the line F-16s, with some components so new they are still in the development stage, the U.S. official. Eighty planes will be delivered starting in 2004. ``This sale represents more than a hardware sale,'' the official said. ``It represents a significant step forward in a strategic relationship and our alliance here.'' The initial sale agreement was for $6.4 billion, but the figure could rise to $8 billion when airplane components are added later. http://www.wn.com/?action=display&article=4475658&template=worldnews/search. txt&index=recent * COHEN: QATAR CONDEMNS QATARI SANCTION-BUSTER by PAMELA HESS DOHA Qatar, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A Qatari business executive who violated international sanctions to give Saddam Hussein a gift of a 747 jumbo jet this week was not acting on behalf of the Qatari government, although he is the first cousin of Qatar's foreign minister and a distant cousin of the emir, U.S. officials said. "He is not part of the government, he was acting solely on his own," said Defense Secretary William Cohen after meeting with the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. "He doesn't in any way reflect the policy of the Qatari government." Qatari-born charter aircraft company executive Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al-Thani -- known popularly as the Gulf Falcon for his flying exploits -- on Thursday presented Iraq with a 747 aircraft. He called it an expression of solidarity with the Iraqi people and President Saddam Hussein, according to news reports. "There is no political significance to the gift Š it only reflects my true love for Iraq and its wise leadership," said Al-Thani. U.S. officials say the gift is a clear violation of sanctions but express frustration with the lack of remedy available. "A plane like this is a gesture, an irritating gesture, it is a sanctions violation that needs to be condemned and addressedŠ.But what are we going to do? Take it back?" a U.S. official said. [.....] http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/18/iraq.mine.reut/index.html * MINE BLAST INJURES SIX CHILDREN IN SOUTHERN IRAQ CNN, November 18, 2000 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- Six children were injured when a mine dropped by U.S. and British forces during the 1991 Gulf War exploded in southern Iraq, the state INA news agency reported on Saturday. The agency said the mine went off while the children were tending their sheep in al-Iza district, Basra province, but it did not say when the incident happened. It added that the wounded were rushed to a hospital in Basra for treatment. http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/11/18/saudi.energyconferenc.ap/index.htm l * INTERNATIONAL ENERGY FORUM UNDERWAY IN RIYADH CNN, November 18, 2000 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Saturday that oil producing countries should consider boosting output to moderate prices, but Iran's oil minister suggested that Washington's sanctions against some exporters were to blame for market instability. World economies need stable oil prices of between $20 and $25 a barrel, Richardson told reporters at the seventh International Energy Forum in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. He said current prices of more than $30 a barrel -- heights unseen in a decade -- were "excessively high." He acknowledged that demand has been high, but he said: "There is a supply problem. Crude stocks are much too low." Richardson said he hopes the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will not decide to cut production at their January meeting, saying "our position is that OPEC countries consider an increase in production." But in a clear reference to U.S. economic sanctions against his country, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said "unilateral economic restrictions" were to blame for market instability and high prices. "Political pressure on oil-producing countries has led to the imbalance and inconsistency of investments in energy supply systems, to the effect that we now witness imbalance and unstable price of oil in recent months," Zangeneh said. Iran has said that all OPEC nations, except Saudi Arabia, are producing as much oil as they can, and that new supplies are not possible without investment and technologies that are banned by U.S. sanctions on Iran, Iraq and Libya, which possess large petroleum reserves. "I do not agree that sanctions are to blame for the oil shortages," Richardson later said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's a supply problem." Richardson said he believed the Democrats would pursue the same policy toward Iran if Al Gore became the next U.S. president. He said he could not comment on U.S. policy toward Iran if George W. Bush were to become the next president of the United States. High oil prices have sparked protests in consumer countries, most notably in Europe. Producers argue that fuel taxes, which can account for 60 percent or 70 percent of the price of a gallon of gas in some consumer nations, should be cut. "Prices have to be more stable and more reasonable," Loyola Depalacio, vice president for transport and energy at the European Commission, told reporters. She said, however, that the European Union was not ready to release oil from its strategic reserves and would not ask OPEC to increase production in January. Because of fears within OPEC that prices will bottom out in the spring, when demand for heating oil falls, industry analysts, OPEC Secretary-General Rilwanu Lukman and oil ministers from Iran and the United Arab Emirates have said the cartel may end up cutting production next year. Richardson said the United States is still assessing whether to release more crude oil from its strategic reserves following a release of 30 million barrels in September. In a report to the conference, the International Energy Agency said significant investment in OPEC countries will be needed to ensure oil production can meet future demands. The report said demand is expected to grow from 75 million barrels a day in 1997 to 115 million barrels per day in 2020. The International Energy Forum, which continues through Sunday, is being attended by OPEC oil ministers, European Union officials, and representatives from nearly 50 countries, the World Bank and other international institutions. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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