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News, 25/11­3/12/00

NEWS, 25/11­3/12/00

My efforts to reduce the size of these mailings are proving to be quite
futile but it is difficult to resist items with titles like 'Did Saddam
write rousing novel'?

The most obviously important news is the Iraqi suspension of oil sales. I
have gathered the articles on this together into a separate supplement
without distinguishing news and commentary. It makes a little story on its

As for the other news, the most obviously important items are Tariq Aziz's
tour (Syria, China, Russia, Syria again); improvements in Syrian­Iraq
relations; improvements in Iraqi­Indian relations; and preparatory
skirmishes for a new round of Iraqi­UN talks early next year.

*  Iraqi minister flies to Damascus defying UN embargo
*  Iraqi Airways reopens Damascus office
*  US Sanctions Air Gulf Falcon President Over Gift To Iraq
*  Three held in Iraq sanctions protest [on the activities of a new
anti-sanctions group called 'Moses in the Wilderness']
*  We'll sell oil to help Palestinians: Saddam
*  Saddam calls for attacks on US, Israeli targets [extract]
*  Iraq sends Palestinians 50 trucks of provisions
*  Saddam Increases Iraqi Food Rations
*  Iran Investigates Seizure of Vessel by Kuwait
*  Russia to help Iraq, Lybia clear mines [this includes interesting
indications that our government and its US ally have been obstructing mine
clearing operations in Libya and Iraq]
*  ONGC [the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, India] joins hands with
Reliance for Iraqi oil property
*  How Saddam's blue eyes make Panja's heart melt
*  Oil for India, food for Iraq & embargo for UN
*  China Condemns No Fly Zone in Talks With Iraqi Aziz
*  Golden goal wins title for Iraq [in the Asian Youth Under-19
*  Japan embassy in Baghdad opens unofficially, on limited basis
*  Diplomats return to Baghdad [extract]
*  Iraq's Aziz in Moscow for sanctions talks
*  U.N., Iraq To Talk After Ramadan [the article also includes information
on a new head for the UN Compensation Committee]
*  Did Saddam write rousing novel?
*  Jordan Sends Disputed Flight to Iraq [with related URLs]
*  Iraq Is Her Destination Of Choice [about Voices in The Wilderness's Kathy
*  Top U.S. official [Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas
Pickering] signals softer stance on Iraqi sanctions
*  Iraq Says Western Planes Go Beyond No-Fly Zones
*  Aziz: Iraq Won't Agree to U.N. Team
*  West's overtures to Saddam alarm Kurds
*  These mothers say sanctions killed their children [BBC report]
*  Annan scolds U.S., Iraq for delays in food programme
*  Iraq: French plane 'defies' UN sanctions
*  Iraqi archeology exhibition in Lyon in 2002


*  Iraq to defend price mechanism, says oil minister
*  Ships refuse to pay Iraqi oil surcharge
*  Iraq strengthens resolve on December oil pricing
*  Iraqi plan threatens winter oil supplies
*  UN says buyers may lift Iraqi oil without price agreement
*  US makes goal to ship 23 mln bbls of emergency oil
*  Oil eases on US and Saudi assurances [small extract]
*  Iraqi oil export suspension looms from midnight [small extract]
*  Iraq: Oil Prices 'Noncompetitive'
*  Iraq halts oil exports [small extract]
*  Iraq Halts Oil Exports as Clash of Wills Continues
*  IEA and US hold the line as Iraq pressures the crude market
*  Why Saddam is flexing his muscles
*  Experts: Iraqi oil move shrewd, calculated
*  'Bully' Saddam theatens to cut off oil supply [small extract]
*  Iraq dispute threatens oil inventories
*  OPEC's Rodriguez says no action planned on Iraq
*  Quick solution to Iraqi dispute unlikely, say diplomats

NEWS SUPPLEMENT (sent separately)

*  Air Force Shifts Bombers' Missions [on US policy to base its bombing
capacity closer to the intended targets]
*  Gulf War Syndrome vets show brain flaws
*  Britain 'backing US against world court'
*  Saddam's Bombmaker [favourable review of Khidhir Hamza's book]
*  Sanctions Against Iraq Be Removed as Soon as Possible [unusually
forthright article from the People's Daily in China]
*  U.S., Russia Seek Taliban Embargo
*  Yemen pact on Cole probe a loser [Problems with the Yemeni government]
*  Pentagon rolls back anthrax program again
*  Bioterrorism: can we deal with it?
*  Sanctions fears panic Afghans
*  Revealed: Executioner tells of mass slaughter in Saddam's jails [a new
defector, at least new to me]
{and, lest we forget that there is in existence a body which has some
legitimate claim to be called the voice of the 'international community':]
*  UN General Assembly slams Israel again

UPI, Sat 25 Nov 2000

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz flew Saturday to Damascus aboard an
Iraqi plane, the first Iraqi flight to break the 10-year embargo imposed on
Iraq for invading neighboring Kuwait in 1990. Aziz told reporters after
meeting Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa that he had made the stop at
Damascus on his way to China by way of Russia. He was the first Iraqi
official and the first Iraqi plane to violate the U.N.-imposed embargo under
which Iraqis have been traveling by land.

Dozens of western and Arab planes have defied the U.N. ban by making direct
flights to Baghdad since Baghdad's Saddam International Airport reopened
last August. Asked about today's move, Aziz said: "This is natural as there
is no embargo on civilian planes. This (siege) is a U.S. lie that was
imposed by America during the past years. And now, this U.S. lies is being
uncovered." Asked about reports that Iraq started this week to pump its oil
across Syrian territory, Aziz said, "I have no information on this subject."

Meanwhile, a Syrian medical delegation led by Health Minister Iyad Shatti,
headed to Baghdad, flew to Baghdad on a Syrian plane, carrying medical
assistance to the Iraqi people. It was the fifth Syrian plane to defy the
U.N. embargo since Oct. 8. Syria and Iraq reopened their border for
businessmen and officials in 1997. Earlier this year, the Iraqi government
opened an office in Damascus and Sharaa has said both Arab countries were
heading toward restoring full diplomatic ties soon. Iraq and Syria severed
ties in the early 1980s following a wave of bombings in Syria with both
countries exchanging accusations of threatening each others' security.

by Thanaa Imam

DAMASCUS, Syria, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Iraqi Airways reopened Saturday itsoffice
in Damascus as a prelude for organizing direct flights from and to Baghdad.

This was the first Iraqi Airways office to reopen in the world since
theUnited Nations imposed an embargo on Iraq to punish it for invading
neighboring Kuwait in 1990.

The reopening ceremony in the Syrian capital was attended by JamilIbrahim,
director general of the Iraqi Ministry of Transportation, who said the
office was "to offer ground services for Iraqi passengers and
others,including selling tickets for flights to Baghdad on Syrian Airways
and other aviation companies."

Ibrahim added that the reopening was a first move that should be followed
later by Iraqi Airways organizing its own direct flights to Baghdad. Iraqi
Airways has no planes on hand because most of them were sent for shelter in
Iran and Tunisia when the Gulf war broke out in 1990. Iraq, however,recently
announced it was engaged in negotiations to recuperate its planes.


correspondent Christos Gabrielides, Sat 25 Nov 2000

The US Government has imposed sanctions on Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani,
president of Air Gulf Falcon which is headquartered at Sharjah International
Airport Free Zone, UAE.

Earlier this week, Sheikh Hamad presented a Boeing 747 to Iraq, stating:
"The present expresses my solidarity with the Iraqi people and President
Saddam Hussein. There is no political significance to the gift...It only
reflects my true love for Iraq and its wise leadership."

The gift has angered the Clinton administration, and Philip Reeker, a US
State Department spokesman, said: "The Department of Commerce is taking this
action to prevent any further diversion of US-origin goods to Iraq that are
inconsistent with UN Security Council resolutions."

Reeker added that measures will be taken to prevent those responsible for
the gift from travelling to the United States.


London Evening Standard, 25th November

Protesters staging a sit-down demonstration against economic sanctions
against Iraq were arrested by police after repeatedly obstructing the road
outside the US Embassy in London.  

About 200 people gathered outside the embassy to draw attention to the
plight of the Iraqi population. Police prevented demonstrators from crossing
barriers, and three women were arrested after protesters refused to get off
a zebra crossing.  

Demonstrator Nadje Al-Ali, 34, of the protest group Women In Black, said:
"Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator in possession of dangerous weapons. He
oppresses his own people and threatens his neighbours.  

"But neither bombing nor sanctions are weakening Saddam Hussein's regime.
These policies are bringing into being a generation of Iraqis who will hate
and fear the West as much as they hate and fear their Iraqi rulers.  

"Because parts to rebuild the infrastructure are not being imported, there
is no electricity or proper sewerage system. As a result, waterborne
diseases and malnutrition are rife. Food is limited and people are not able
to eat healthily."  

There were no further arrests before the demonstration ended peacefully with
a parade around the embassy, which was organised by the group Moses [SIC ­
PB] In The Wilderness.  

The Bishop of Brentford, the Right Reverend Thomas McMahon, supported the
action. He said: "This policy has devastated Iraqi society and cost the
lives of many people, particularly the lives of children."  

According to Unicef, economic sanctions have contributed to the deaths of
500,000 Iraqi children since 1990, and campaign groups claim 30% of Iraqi
children are malnourished as a result.  

Three senior UN officials have resigned in protest at the policy of
sanctions, including Dennis Halliday, head of the UN Oil-For-Food

He said: "Why does the US insist the UN maintain economic sanctions on Iraq?
They will not produce a democracy in Iraq. Nor will they make the world safe
from Saddam Hussein's alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. And
they most certainly will not promote stability, for the people of Iraq, or
the Middle East."

Independent Online, November 25 2000

Baghdad, Iraq (Associated Press) - President Saddam Hussein on Saturday
called on the United Nations to let Iraq use a portion of its oil-for-food
money to help the Palestinians.

The statement came in a cabinet meeting chaired by Saddam and attended by
ministers and senior ruling Baath party members, shown on the state-run
television on Saturday evening.

"I want all the Palestinian people to be included in the food ration Iraqis
receive under the oil-for-food program," Saddam said, and asked his cabinet
to prepare a letter to Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, outlining their

"Say in the letter we are one nation and look at the Palestinian people as
if they are Iraqi people, and since they are sanctioned, what happens to
them is as if it happens to Iraqis," he said. "We... expect UN approval to
send you a list of the Palestinians' needs to be deducted from our money."

The oil-for-food program is an exception to broad U.N. sanctions imposed to
punish Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and allows Iraq to sell its oil
provided the proceeds are used to buy humanitarian goods for its 22 million

Almost two months of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories has
claimed more than 270 lives, most of them Palestinian.

In the cabinet meeting, Saddam also asked Arabs to increase their opposition
to the presence of American and British interests in the region.

"I want to see Arabs increasing their rejection by hurting American and
British interests, especially American, in the Arab world," Saddam said.
"When they feel that their interests are threatened, they will reconsider
their stance toward Arabs."

In the last week, two car explosions in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh
have killed one British man and injured four other British citizens. The
motives in the attacks were unknown.


Times of India, 27th November, [Agence France Presse]


He also called for Jewish immigrants to the former Palestine to return to
their countries of origin, and for a portion of Iraq's oil revenues to be
set aside for the Palestinians.

"The Arab masses are called upon to attack all US and Zionist interests and
to track down those defending such interests" in the Arab world itself, he
said at a Cabinet meeting late on Saturday.

Arab "regimes which do not believe in the national struggle must change
(their stand) or vanish. Those who do not change must be overthrown," Saddam

"The Arabs must convince the United States and Britain that all their
interests are threatened so long as Zionism continues to exist," he said,
calling for Arabs to resist US efforts to halt the Palestinian uprising
against Israel.

The Iraqi leader said only the expulsion of Jewish immigrants could restore
calm to the region.

"Every Jewish immigrant should leave Palestine for good and return to his
country of origin," he said. "So long as Jewish immigrants remain on
Palestinian soil, there will never be stability in the region."



Dubai:Tuesday, November 28, 2000 :  A convoy of 50 trucks loaded with food
and medicine for Palestinians suffering shortages as a result of clashes
with Israel left Baghdad yesterday heading for Jordan, a senior Iraqi
official said.

"This convoy of 50 trucks contains 1,600 tonnes of food and medicine for our
Palestinian brothers," Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh told reporters
after seeing off the line of lorries. "We will send more relief aid to the

Saleh said Iraq had officially requested that the United Nations allocate
part of the revenues from his country's oil-for-food deal with the UN for
relief aid to the Palestinians. On Saturday, President Saddam Hussein urged
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to include humanitarian supplies for
Palestinians in the pact which allows Iraq to sell oil in order to buy food,
medicine and other provisions for Iraqis.

"We have informed the (UN) secretary-general and the Security Council to
allocate part of our revenues from oil to be designated to the Palestinian
people to buy them food, medicine and other requirements," Saleh said. "We
are still waiting for the United Nations to answer our request."

Since the start on September 28 of Israeli-Palestinian clashes that have
killed at least 275 people, most of them Palestinians, Iraq has sent two
convoys of trucks laden with food and medicine to the West Bank and Gaza

Baghdad has donated five million euros ($4.21 million) to support the
Palestinian uprising. It also sent a medical team to Amman to treat
Palestinians hospitalised in the Jordanian capital and last month a
Palestinian plane brought eight people injured in the unrest to Baghdad.
Nearly two million Iraqis volunteering to join forces with Palestinians
against Israeli troops marched through the Iraqi capital last week.



BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Sun 26 Nov) ‹ President Saddam Hussein
increased food rations for Iraqis on Sunday, then doubled them to mark the
start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the official Iraqi News Agency

The monthly ration of rice was raised 18 percent to 7.7 pounds, sugar went
up 25 percent to 5.5 pounds, cooking oil 40 percent to 3.85 pounds and tea
67 percent to 250 grams, the Trade Ministry said.

Iraqis are entitled to double those new rations for December to mark the
beginning Monday of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, the
president announced.

Food has been rationed since the economy began to feel the effects of U.N.
trade sanctions imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.


TEHRAN, November 26 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran's Foreign Ministry is
investigating Kuwait's seizure of an Iranian vessel suspected of
smuggling dates from Iraq, the local Tehran Times daily reported Sunday.

An Iranian wooden vessel carrying 360 tons of dates was stopped
by coast guards apparently in Kuwaiti territorial waters last
Wednesday, the report said. All 13 Iranian crew members were arrested.

The Foreign Ministry is closely following the issue, the paper
said, without elaborating on what possible measure would be taken.



MOSCOW, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Despite mounting criticism from the West, Russia
could take an active part in assisting the so-called rogue states of Iraq
and Libya in mine-clearing operations, a source in the Russian government
said Sunday.

The source, identified by the official Itar-Tass news agency as an unnamed,
highly ranked official in the Ministry for Emergency Situations (MES), said
that the options on Russia's participation in mine-clearing projects in Iraq
and Libya "remain open."

"The main obstacle these projects face are the international sanctions that
had been imposed on Iraq and Libya," the source said.

Over the past decade, Iraq has been under the U.N.-imposed economic
sanctions for invading neighboring Kuwait in 1990.

Libya was sanctioned for refusing to turn over the suspects in the 1988 Pan
Am bombing over the Scottish town of Lockerbie that killed 270 people.

The Russian official added that any attempt to export mine-clearing
equipment and technologies to Baghdad and Tripoli, as well as to train their
specialists, "may be regarded as the transfer of double technologies."

"At the moment, we are exploring options that would allow us to perform
mine-clearing operations within the framework of the existing sanctions,"
said the official.

According to Baghdad's figures, more than 450,000 unexploded U.S.-made
rockets and bombs are strewn across the country in the bombing campaigns
Washington and its allies have been carrying out since 1990.

In August, Moscow and Baghdad signed an agreement to set up a center for
mine-clearing operations in Iraq.

Libya, another rogue state, received Russia's support in November when the
two governments decided to set up a center in Tripoli for training Libyan
bomb-disposal specialists.

Currently, MES officers are inspecting the Libyan terrain and are expected
to start the operation soon.

Russia's mine-clearing specialists are in great demand for their high skills
and top level of training.

Their record in the U.N.-administered Yugoslav province of Kosovo has been
more than impressive -- in less than four months, Russian bomb-disposal
officers defused more than 1,700 mines in the troubled region.

"That is absolutely the highest tally among the 14 nations whose
mine-clearing teams are working in Kosovo under the U.N.-run program," said
U.N. Anti-Mine Center Director John MacFlanagan.

Russia has announced that it will continue its participation in
mine-clearing efforts in Kosovo in 2001.

Moscow has also vowed to take part in another bomb-disposal program that the
U.N. plans to launch next year in Mozambique.


New Delhi, Nov 26: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Reliance have
joined hands with Algeria's Sonatrach to secure an oil field in Iraq for
production of crude.

ONGC's overseas subsidiary ONGC Videsh (OVL) has sought to form a joint
venture with two other partners for production of crude from Tuba oil field
in case it got all necessary clearances from the government in the wake of
UN sanctions against Iraq.

OVL and Reliance would hold 30 per cent each in the project, while Sonatrach
would take the remaining 40 per cent in the project, OVL managing director
Atul Chandra told PTI.

OVL would invest over $200 million in the project which is expected to cost
over $500- $600 million and has been given a security of crude supply for a
period of 20-25 years.

The OVL-Reliance combine has already chalked out the financial and technical
modalities and a draft contract is under discussion with the officials of
Sonatrach, Mr Chandra said, adding, Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) would
also be involved with the project at a later stage.

Incidentally, Indonesian National oil company, Pertamina, which is also
interested in taking up development of Tuba, is also keen to join the OVL
consortium for the bid.

by Jyoti Malhotra
[Thanks to Drew Hamre for finding this one ­ PB]

NEW DELHI, November 28: The famous embrace with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
which landed then Foreign minister I K Gujral into hot, diplomatic soup has
been whittled down to a really warm handshake. Nevertheless, minister of
state for External Affairs Ajit Kumar Panja cannot forget the intensity of
the ``light blue eyes and the quarter smile'' tugging at the corner of
Hussein's mouth, when he met him in his palace headquarters in Baghdad some
weeks ago.

And today when New Delhi warmed up to Iraqi vice president Taha Yassin
Ramadhan, it was time for Panja to glow in the memory of that three-day trip
to Baghdad in late September.

``He (Saddam Hussein) was looking into my eyes and trying to understand
me,'' Panja told The Indian Express in an interview. ``As I handed over the
Prime Minister's letter to him, he just looked at me and became still. He
was looking at me with his light blue eyes, wearing a light blue suit, but
actually he was looking deep inside himself,'' Panja said.

Minutes later, the Iraqi leader had taken out a cigar, which he proceeded to
cut into half. ``He offered me one part of the cigar and said in English,
``Smoke please,'' but I told him that I had given up smoking some time ago.
Then he asked me, also in English, if he could smoke, and I said, of course,
I still like its smell,'' Panja added. So Hussein smoked and Panja
inhaled_over one hour and thirty-five minutes, while Iraqi PM Tariq Aziz
translated from Arabic.

For the first time in 10 years, a minister from the Indian foreign office
was meeting a leader so demonised in the West. Politicians from China,
Malaysia, Indonesia, Venezuela, as well as senior officials from Russia and
France have visited Baghdad, government officials said.

And now by receiving vice-president Ramadhan, New Delhi ­ encouraged by
countries like France, Russia and China ­ is now invoking the virtues of
``oil diplomacy'' to gingerly re establish ties with this so-called ``rogue

Over the next few days, then, Ramadhan will be received by none other than
the Prime Minister, President, Vice-President as well as ministers from
External Affairs, Petroleum, Commerce, besides Sonia Gandhi. Official
agreements are on the cards, but clearly, Baghdad hopes that with this
high-level visit, India will join the still-small group of nations
clamouring for Iraq's return to the human race.

It is rumoured that Iraq, with the second largest oil reserves in the world,
is ready to sell crude at ``extremely low rates'', thereby getting around
the oil-for-food sanctions imposed after the Gulf war. Analysts point out
that Baghdad already, ``informally'', sells large amounts of diesel to
Turkey and that the West turns a blind eye, possibly because Ankara is a key
NATO outpost.

Panja pointed out that he had told Saddam Hussein that ``India wanted to
participate in the reconstruction of Iraq.''

India could rebuild the devastated port of Basra, ONGC engineers could help
re-rig Iraq's oil wells as well as build new refineries, India could sell it
the ``cheapest and best medicines in the world'', Iraqi students could come
here to study, private Iraqi businessmen could form joint ventures with
their Indian counterparts.

``I told him (Hussein) that we are against the sanctions because they are
counterproductive and aggravate the suffering of the common people. We are
also against any sort of air raids conducted against Iraq. In fact, we have
to start afresh,'' Panja said.

In turn, Hussein ``showed a lot of interest about India,'' talking about the
ships that once sailed from Basra to Bombay, the need for Iraqi commercial
pilots to be trained in India. On his return home to Delhi, Panja added, he
told the Commerce minister that apart from wheat which India sells Iraq, he
wanted two shiploads of rice sent there.

This evening in Delhi, that famous Indo-Iraqi embrace manifested itself once
again. Minutes after a Jordanian aircraft carrying the Iraqi delegation
landed, Oil minister Amer Mohammed Rashid emerged from the plane and hugged
Panja. ``Because of your visit, our trip here will be very good,'' exclaimed

``I did not say `thank you,' to him, I said, `Inshallah!'' said Panja with a

Economic Times (India), Thursday Nov 30 2000

IN a major deal with Iraq, facing UN sanctions, India on Wednesday agreed
"in principle" to import oil from Baghdad in return for wheat under the
world body¹s food-for-oil programme but the contract would be implemented
after discussions with its sanctions committee.

"An understanding has been reached in principle for import of oil from Iraq.
India, inturn, will export grain to Baghdad under the food-for-oil
programme. We will engage in consultations with the UN sanctions committee
regarding implementation of this understanding in the context of sanctions
regime currently in force against Iraq," a foreign office spokesman said.

He was briefing reporters on the visit of Iraqi vice-president Taha Yassin
Ramadhan and the three-day Indo-Iraq joint commission meeting from November
26 which was attended by petroleum minister Ram Naik and Iraqi oil minister
A Mohammad Rashid here.

Replying to a question on India¹s stand on the sanctions against Iraq
imposed after the 1991 Gulf War, the spokesman said the sanctions were
"unjust, unwarranted and detrimental to the interests of the Iraqi people".

He said a decision on the lifting of sanctions should be in tandem with Iraq
implementing the security council resolutions.

Ramadhan, who held wideranging talks with the Indian leadership, told
reporters that India and Iraq have agreed on a framework for cooperation for
a longterm strategic partnership and urged New Delhi to look beyond UN
sanctions and help in rebuilding its economy.

The foreign office spokesman did not give out details about the quantity of
oil imports from Iraq and whether the prices would be lower than the
international market.

Official sources said India has been importing about $250 million worth of
oil from Iraq under the food-for-oil programme since 1996 but the volume of
import under the new understanding was expected to be much higher.

On the meeting Ramadhan had with external affairs minister Jaswant Singh,
the spokesman said the Iraqi vice-president informed Singh about his leader
Saddam Hussain¹s vision of a long-term relationship with India.

Ramadhan said the relationship was important "not only in the present
context but also has a long-term character to it".

He told reporters a new dimension was being given to bilateral ties with
special focus on bolstering economic cooperation.

Ramadhan, who is on a five-day official visit, the first high-level from
Iraq to India in the last 25 years, said "we found real understanding and
appreciation here of the position of Iraq." Ramadhan described his visit as
a "turning point" in Indo-Iraq relations.


BEIJING, Nov 27, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Chinese Foreign Minister
Tang Jiaxuan Monday condemned the American and British-patrolled no-fly zone
over Iraq and expressed sympathy with Iraq after 10-years of UN sanctions.

 "China resolutely condemns the air attacks that have caused great civilian
casualties and property losses and intensified the situation," China Central
Television quoted Tang as telling visiting Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq

 "The establishment of the no-fly zone by some Western countries violates
the UN charter and norms of international relations and ignores and tramples
on the sovereignty of Iraq," he said.

 US warplanes bombed northern Iraq last week after coming under fire during
routine patrols over the no-fly zone, in the latest of a series of bombings
which Iraq claims have killed more than 300 people since December 1998.

 Iraq does not recognize the zones, which are not authorized by any specific
UN resolution.

 Aziz arrived in Beijing late Sunday and was expected to seek China's
support for its ongoing efforts to remove crippling UN economic sanctions
placed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of neighboring Kuwait and its defeat
in the Gulf War.

 "China is gravely concerned with the development of issues relating to Iraq
and expresses it sympathy to the long-term sufferings of the Iraqi people,"
Tang said.

 "China believes that any sanctions, blockades or attacks, no matter how
strong in the beginning, will not win the popular support of the people," he

 Aziz hoped China would continue to play "a positive and important role"
towards a just and rational resolution of the Iraqi question, the report

[NOTE ALSO IN THE SUPPLEMENT: Sanctions against Iraq be removed as soon as
possible, by Liang Faming]

The Star (Malaysia), 28th November

TEHRAN (AFP): Striker Imad Reza won the Asian Youth Under-19 Championship
for Iraq, pouncing on a defensive mix-up to score the golden goal winner and
clinch a 2-1 victory over Japan in the final here on Sunday.

Imad had given his side the lead after just 16 minutes of the match, only
for his tiring side to concede an equaliser scored by Yutaka Tahara. However
the 18-year-old Al Zawra striker was on hand after 14 minutes to settle the
match in Iraq's favour.

China claimed third place, beating the hosts Iran 6-5 in a penalty shoot-out
after an eventful 2-2 draw.

Hundreds of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad, some of them firing in
the air, to celebrate the Tehran win.

With horns blaring, dozens of cars draped in the Iraqi flag drove through
the streets, in a rare celebration for a country that has been under
sanctions for 10 years, an AFP correspondent reported.

Baghdadis were crowded in coffee shops to watch the 104th-minute golden goal
which secured victory.

Iraq's fifth title in the championships books them a place in next year's
World Youth tournament in Argentina.
BAGHDAD, Nov 28 (Oana-Kyodo) -- The Japanese government has reopened its
embassy in Baghdad on an unofficial, limited basis primarily to cope with an
increasing number of Japanese business people traveling in Iraq, a
diplomatic source said Monday.

The source said the Japanese government will send two Jordan-based diplomats
to Baghdad on a rotational basis and the Iraqi government has approved the

The Japanese embassy in Baghdad has started functioning ''to serve Japanese
nationals and businessmen in Iraq, but it is not reopened,'' an Asian
diplomat told Kyodo news.

The arrangement was made during a three-day visit to Iraq by Yasukuni Enoki,
head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Middle Eastern and African Affairs

Japan shut down its embassy in Baghdad shortly before the start of the Gulf
War in January 1991.

The diplomat, who insisted on anonymity, said the Japanese embassy in
Baghdad would function three weeks in one month and the diplomats in Baghdad
are not authorized to carry out consular activities such as issuing visas to

''The Japanese government would like to continue political dialogue with
Iraq,'' the diplomat said. ''The function of the Japanese embassy in Baghdad
is one step toward the development of Japanese relations.''

The diplomat said the Japanese government expects an increasing number of
Japanese would travel to Iraq on business and the main job of the Japanese
embassy in Baghdad will be to help them.

The diplomat said Iraq must implement U.N. resolutions adopted after the
1991 Gulf War before Japan would reestablish diplomatic ties.

On Sunday, Enoki met with Iraq's Minister of Trade Mohammed Mehdi and they
discussed ''means of boosting bilateral economic trade relations,''
according to the official Iraqi news agency.

Enoki also met with Nizar Hamdoun, Under Secretary of the Iraqi Foreign
Ministry, and Fayiz Shaheen, Under Secretary of the Oil Ministry. --

City Press (South Africa), 29th November

[On Japan and Switzerland. Switzerland appeared in last weeks news ­ PB]

"Austria is also making contacts with a view to reopening its embassy in
Baghdad, which could take place at the start of 2001," the western diplomat
said, asking not to be named.

He said that Belgium planned to send a delegation at the start of next year
with the same aim.

A Belgian trade office was also to be opened shortly in Baghdad, the economy
minister for Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region, Serge Kubla, said
during a visit at the end of October.

Several other European countries, such as France, Italy and Spain, have
already reactivated diplomatic missions in Iraq.

UPI, Tue 28 Nov 2000

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz arrived in Moscow Tuesday for talks
with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and other senior officials on
international sanctions maintained by the United Nations against Baghdad.
Vasily Sredin, Russian deputy foreign minister and President Vladimir
Putin's Middle East envoy, said the talks would focus on the possibility of
ending sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Sredin said talks between Aziz and Ivanov could lead to "a resumption of
interaction between Baghdad and the United Nations in the area of
disarmament ... under prospects of the suspension and lifting of U.N.
sanctions." Sredin said the two officials also would discuss Russian-Iraqi
cooperation and humanitarian aid programs. Russia has pushed for a lifting
of sanctions and has defied a ban on direct air links with Iraq and has sent
several airliners to Baghdad. Russia also proposes scheduled flights between
Moscow and the Iraqi capital in the near future.

Aziz arrived in Moscow from Beijing, where he received similar support from
the Chinese authorities for an end to the regime of sanctions once
U.N.-sponsored arms inspectors are allowed back into Iraq. It is not clear
if Aziz, who is scheduled to remain in Moscow until Thursday, will meet


UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press, Tue 28 Nov 2000) ‹ The United Nations and
Iraq agreed Tuesday to begin talks on ending the two-year deadlock over U.N.
weapons inspections and 10-year-old sanctions at the start of the new year,
U.N. officials said.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Iraqi Ambassador Saeed Hasan made the
decision during a follow-up meeting to this month's Islamic summit in Qatar,
during which Annan and senior Iraqi officials agreed to open a ``dialogue''
on finding solutions to the impasse.

It was believed that an Iraqi delegation would travel to U.N. headquarters
in New York for the talks.

The two sides were aiming to start the meetings after the end of the Muslim
holy month of Ramadan, in the beginning of 2001, a U.N. official said.


HEAD: Appointment of new head to UN Compensation Committee.

In another development Tuesday, diplomats confirmed that Annan has chosen
one of his top political advisers, Rolf Knutsson of Sweden, as the executive
secretary of the U.N. commission created to compensate victims of the Gulf

The Compensation Commission is scheduled to undergo a review of the way it
approves war reparations now that it has begun considering large payouts to
corporations that say they incurred losses as a result of Iraq's invasion of

The United States and Britain are said to be displeased with Annan's
selection of Knutsson on the grounds that he may be too favorable to Iraq
and its key allies, Russia, France and China.

They, as well as the 12 other Security Council members, sit on the
compensation committee and consider requests for reparations, which are paid
for by U.N.-supervised sales of Iraqi oil.,1113,2-10

City Press (South Africa), 29th November

Baghdad (AFP): "Zabiba and the King" is an anonymously written new novel
which has taken Baghdad's bookshops by storm and, given all the official
publicity, speculation abounds that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein wrote it.

The novel is not set in any particular time or place, and tells the story of
a king who falls for Zabiba, a modest young girl "blessed with ravishing
beauty, remarkable intelligence and an unfailing courage".

Zabiba, which means "raisin" in Arabic, succeeds in uniting the king with
his people in a fight against conspirators.

The novel carries clear references to the "role of Jews in sewing discord
and stirring up conspiracies among the people".

After an arrow pierces Zabiba's heart during a battle and she dies, the king
announces to his people that he had married the young martyr before her

The novel's preface proclaims: "Here I am, Iraq, the land of prophets. We
will only bend before God. Evil be to the cowards and lackeys. Evil be to
any Arab who has reneged his membership of the nation."

Revenues from sales of the novel, available at less than one dollar a copy,
are to be donated to the "poor, orphans, needy and works of charity".


AMMAN, Jordan (Associated Press, Thu 30 Nov 2000) ‹ A Jordanian plane left
for Baghdad late Thursday with fare-paying passengers in a symbolic protest
against a U.N. ban on regular commercial flights to Iraq.

Jordanian officials said the flight was humanitarian, although the
government initially said it would be commercial.

The 19 passengers aboard the Airbus A-310 included doctors who planned to
perform charitable work in Iraq and disabled people who could not travel 12
hours overland to Baghdad, Cabinet officials said, speaking on customary
condition of anonymity.

They said Jordan requested approval for the flight from the United Nations ‹
as required ‹ but declined to say if permission was granted.

At the U.N. headquarters in New York, a spokesman for the Netherlands
mission ‹ which chairs the Sanctions Committee on Iraq ‹ said it did not
have permission since the committee had not yet made a decision on the

Under U.N. sanctions imposed on Baghdad following its August 1990 invasion
of Kuwait, commercial flights to Iraq are banned outright.

The flight left Queen Alia International Airport in the Jordanian capital
Amman en route to Saddam International Airport in Baghdad ‹ a 90-minute

Travel agents said the flag carrier, Royal Jordanian, charged $300 for a
round trip and half the amount for a one-way ticket.

Western diplomats in New York noted that humanitarian flights are exempt
from the sanctions regime, but said the Jordanian request looks like a
regular commercial flight, which would be against U.N. Security Council

But in Jordan, Transport Ministry Secretary-General Alaa' Batayneh insisted
the flight was ``humanitarian in nature.''

Iraq and Jordan have historically had very close economic ties and the U.N.
sanctions on Iraq have taken a major toll on the Jordanian economy.

Jordan has been eager to expand trade with Iraq, but is wary of breaking
sanction rules because that would risk its close ties with the United
States, which donates $225 million annually to Jordan.

Dozens of international flight from non-governmental organizations and
foreign countries seeking an end to U.N. sanctions have landed in Baghdad in
recent months.

URLS ONLY [leaving intact the ambivalence over whether this is the first of
a series of regular commercial flights, or a one-off, UN approved
humanitarian flight]:
BBC World Service, Wednesday, 29 November, 2000
BBC World Service Wednesday, 29 November, 2000

by Lewis Dolinsky
San Francisco Chronicle, November 29

Temperatures in Basra, southern Iraq, were 120 to 130 degrees this summer.
Blackouts lasted up to 14 hours a day. Since you could not even get a fan
moving, it was best to sleep on the roof. If the humidity did not wake you,
noise from U.S. warplanes did. They bomb every four days, on average.

Kathy Kelly, 47, of Chicago spent seven weeks in Basra's summer heat and
went again in October. She has visited Iraq 13 times since January 1996 --
to offer encouragement and condolences, to observe, then to testify. Her
organization, Voices in the Wilderness, has sent 35 groups of six to eight
people, mostly paying their own way. For her efforts, she has been
threatened with 12 years in prison and a $1 million fine by the U.S.
Treasury Department.

In 1998, she received a $160,000 "prepenalty notice." She is not sure what
that means, "but we announced that we have brought medicine and teddy bears
to Iraq and will continue to do so." She has never been charged, although
she travels to Iraq without official permission. She figures that "probably
[smuggling teddy bears? ­ PB] is not as big a crime as contaminating
people's drinking water."

Bad water is a major killer of Iraqi children. Kelly does not spout
statistics; the United Nations can do that. But every two days in Basra, she
spent more on bottled water for five Americans than the monthly income of
the household where she stayed. When a baby was born, her host had to ask
her for clean water. In 1991, Kelly says, the U.S. military laid out how
Iraq's water could be contaminated as a result of sanctions: "The same
diseases the U.N. names now are the ones the military planners predicted."

Kelly was interviewed at The Chronicle last week as many supporters and
opponents were agreeing that sanctions are eroding. The French and Russians
fly into Baghdad; thousands of businesspeople attend an Iraqi trade show;
Syria buys Iraqi oil outside the box of the U.N. oil-for-food program.
Instead of getting credit for yielding because sanctions are ineffective or
immoral, the United States sees its policy subverted by Muslims angry over
the U.S. role in the Holy Land and by the non-Muslim world's hunger to do
business with Iraq.

Saddam Hussein, unmonitored, is still a threat. Kelly grants that -- and
Saddam's other deficiencies -- but resists the idea that to be credible, she
must join the name-calling: "I don't want to contribute to more

Besides, she thinks our government is the greater threat. We distribute
terrible weapons, we use them, and we conduct a kind of biological war in
Iraq while warning against one. Saddam menaces our control of world oil,
Kelly says, and "as long as we think we can take other people's resources
without paying a full price, there will be an impediment to peace."

Since we clearly do not have the stomach to eliminate Saddam, she says, the
way forward is to deal with Iraq as we deal with North Korea and other
unpleasant regimes. She hopes that before leaving office, President Clinton
will sow the seeds of a realistic policy. But when Clinton was interviewed
on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now" radio show (heard on KPFA) on November 7,
"his answers on Iraq were persuasive but not truthful. They relied on State
Department information. All he could say about Denis Halliday and Hans von
Sponeck (who quit the U.N. oil-for-food program in protest) was: 'They're

"For a bright man," Kelly says, "that was weak."

UPI, Wed 29 Nov 2000

As the world takes tentative steps toward restoring relations with Iraq, a
top State Department official conceded U.S. policy toward Iraq must adapt,
likely by narrowing the decade-long sanctions against on Saddam Hussein to
prohibit only those items that would help him rebuild his military. "Some
people look on the evolution of our Iraq policy and call it a failure,"
Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering said at a
military conference in Arlington, Va., Wednesday.

"I look at it in a different way,' Pickering said. ``For some 10 years, we
have followed a very effective course of action in which an international
coalition involving Western, Arab and East Asian and East European nations
held firm both militarily and politically in (their) support for the U.N.
Security Council. "In the (Persian) Gulf our policy will have to adapt to
changing circumstances," said. Pickering. "It is inevitable that time
marches on and circumstances require us to adapt."


"I am less worried, quite frankly, about civil air flights than I am about
weapons of mass destruction," Pickering said, and then laid out what could
be read as a blueprint for the next administration for narrowing the
sanctions: "So I would draw the bottom line very seriously -- maintain
sanctions on dual-use items and weapons of mass destruction delivery
vehicles and the full range of military capabilities, and I would be sure
that, whatever I do with any regime in Iraq, to make certain the United
Nations and not Saddam Hussein continues to control Š money that comes from
Iraqi oil exports."

Pickering said as long as the basic principles guiding U.S. policy remain
the same -- that Iraq not be allowed to develop nuclear, chemical or
biological weapons or missile delivery platforms, attack its neighbors or
its minority populations -- how it is implemented can be adjusted. "This set
of ideas and principles has guided our work over the past decade and it
remains appropriate as we look to the future as a series of important
guideposts for policy," he said. "It is also extremely important Š for us to
continue to define the important bottom lines that our policy exists to
serve Š some of those include what we have come to call the three Iraqi red
lines: that we will oppose militarily efforts for him to once again invade
his neighbors or seriously threaten efforts to invade that portion of Iraq
now inhabited by free Kurds or efforts to reconstitute weapons of mass
destruction," Pickering said.

"I believe we must in this country continue to persuade and work with others
to be sure that the end result is the non-presence of Saddam Hussein -- that
sometime in the future when his own people choose to see him gone, and we
can see the potential for a new regime, perhaps a new situation in the Gulf,
one that is less threatening militarily and one that is more dedicated to
full cooperation in the region than it ever can be as long as Saddam remains
in power."

His rhetoric has softened significantly. Two years ago, Pickering declared
unequivocally Iraq would face "sanctions in perpetuity" unless it submitted
to arms inspections. And as recently as August, Pickering rejected any
alternatives to total sanctions as having "huge consequences and great
difficulties." Pickering said at an August press conference that softening
the sanctions on any commercial products makes keeping out military items
much more difficult, as there would no longer be a legal basis for a
maritime interdiction force in the Persian Gulf. The international MIF
intercepts boats it believes are carrying contraband - most often oil.
"Trade in dual-use and other items gets a free ride and is opened up,"
Pickering said.

Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2000

BAGHDAD--U.S. and British warplanes are flying over areas of Iraq which are
not part of the Western-imposed no-fly zones in the north and south of the
country, an Iraqi general was quoted as saying on Thursday.

"Recurrent aggression on Iraq by American and British warplanes has not been
confined to areas which they determined as no-fly zones," Lieutenant-General
Shaheen Yassin, commander of the anti-aircraft Defense, told the al-Zawra

"American and British planes violated Iraqi air spaces in Anbar province
under the pretext of monitoring our troops," Yassin said.

Yassin also ridiculed a statement by Saudi Arabia Defense Minister Prince
Sultan bin Abdullah Al-Aziz denying that the purpose of U.S. forces in the
kingdom was aggression against Iraq.

"Saudi Arabia has no idea what the Americans and British are doing on its
territory," Yassin was quoted as saying.

Abdullah Al-Aziz told a joint press conference with Defense Secretary
William Cohen last week western planes were there to "serve peace and
stability in Iraq and the neighboring countries."


Las Vegas Sun, November 30, 2000

MOSCOW (AP) -- Iraq's deputy prime minister on Thursday dimmed hopes that a
two-year standoff over weapons inspections might be close to an end, saying
his government would refuse to accept a new U.N. monitoring team.

When Tariq Aziz was asked whether Baghdad would receive a delegation led by
chief weapons inspector Hans Blix, he answered with an emphatic "no."

Blix is executive chairman of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and
Inspection Commission, created last year to replace a disbanded panel
charged with overseeing the dismantling of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction
and biological and chemical weapons programs after the 1991 Persian Gulf

Aziz's comment came two days after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
announced a tentative agreement with Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations
to open talks early next year on ending the stalemate over weapons

However, Aziz said that Baghdad was still studying Annan's proposal, and
said his government would have to decide on when it would be "convenient" to
take part in such talks.

Aziz met in Moscow on Wednesday with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.
The two canceled a scheduled news conference, and Russian news agencies
quoted unnamed diplomats as saying the talks had been "difficult."

On Thursday, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported that the two sides had
differed over disarmament issues, but it offered no details. Aziz left for
home after making only brief comments to press at the airport.

by Amberin Zaman in Sina Village, northern Iraq
Daily Telegraph, 30 November 2000

THE precarious peace that has brought the good life to many Kurdish refugees
is coming under threat due to recent violations of United Nations sanctions
against Iraq.

With the growing number of non-authorised flights to the Iraqi capital, the
perception among the Kurds is that it will not be long before sanctions
against Baghdad are lifted. That would leave the Kurds in a precarious
position. Kurdish independence remains as elusive as ever.

British and American fighter jets which have been patrolling the no-fly zone
over northern Iraq since its 2.5 million Kurds were defeated by Baghdad when
they rebelled at the end of the Gulf war.

As three consecutive booms shake the earth, sending scores of shrieking
children into the school courtyard, three horseshoe-shaped puffs of smoke
scar the deep blue Kurdish sky. However, the anti-aircraft missiles being
fired by Saddam Hussein's forces plummet to the ground without hitting their
targets. Murat Jindi is a teacher in the village 10 miles outside Dohuk, in
Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. He said: "Saddam is firing again and no
one seems to be ready to stop him."

With sanctions being broken on a near-daily basis in recent months, the
Kurds are feeling at their most vulnerable since their mass exodus in April
1991 to the Iranian and Turkish borders to flee the wrath of Saddam's
Republican Guards.

Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdish regional government, said:
"We are deeply concerned about the way things are going." The regional
government is led by the Kurdistan Democratic Party and controls the
northern two thirds of the Kurdish enclave.

The last time the Iraqi Kurds received security guarantees from the
Amercians was during a meeting last June in Washington with Sandy Berger,
the National Security Adviser in the Clinton administration. Just a
15-minute drive away, a battalion of Iraqi tanks deployed in the village of
Qustapa is poised to strike at any moment. Mr Barzani said: "What can we do
against tanks and helicopters? We only have guns."

Encouraged by neighbouring Turkey and Iran, the two main Iraqi Kurdish
factions, Massoud Barzani's KDP and Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan have been locked in a bloody power struggle since 1994.
International sympathy for the Kurds waned further after Mr Barzani invited
Iraqi troops in August 1996 to help him to seize control of Erbil, the main
Kurdish city.

The brief invasion led to the collapse of a CIA-backed Iraqi opposition
movement and led to the permanent removal of US and British officers from
the enclave and to its partitioning into the KDP-controlled north and
PUK-controlled south. International support for a deal with Baghdad which
would allow the Kurds to set up a federal government is facing stiff
resistance, not only from Saddam but from Turkey, which fears that it would
encourage its own 12 million Kurds to make similar demands.

In an effort to dilute Kurd claims to the region, the Ankara government has
stepped up support for Iraq's estimated 1.5 million Turcomen minority and is
arming and training a 500 man Turcomen force based in Erbil. It is also
putting the final touches to a new border post with Iraq, which would bypass
the Kurdish-controlled region, depriving the Kurds of income and boosting
trade with Baghdad.

Yet life has never been so good for the Kurds, thanks to billions of dollars
earned from taxes levied on a thriving illicit fuel and luxury goods trade
with Iran, Iraq and Turkey. With an additional £850 million earmarked for
the Kurds under the UN's oil-for-food programme for Iraq, the standard of
living in the north is visibly higher.

Much of the money has been invested in new schools, hospitals and motorways.
But flashy marble villas, hotels and supermarkets stocked with Turkish goods
have also sprung up. The easy and sedentary lifestyle has robbed the once
irrepressible Kurdish guerrillas of their fighting edge.

Back in Sina, Mr Jindi pointed to the debris of scores of levelled stone
houses. He said: "Saddam's tanks destroyed our homes and our lives. How can
we be sure they will not do the same again?"

by Ben Brown in Baghdad
BBC, Friday, 1 December, 2000

Saddam Hussein brought sanctions upon his country - but it is not him who is
suffering. Instead, the Iraqi people are paying the price from the cradle to
the grave.

In Iraq's hospitals, doctors say there are frequent power cuts and only
rudimentary equipment because of sanctions.

Many babies are severely malnourished and of every 1,000 babies born, 108
will die before their first birthday.

Paediatrician Dr Abdullah Hamzawi showed me one baby in his run-down ward.
"She weighs only 40% of the weight she is supposed to be," he said.

"Such babies carry the risk of 50% mortality. Fifty per cent she may die. I
just ask why should this happen," he adds.

Ten years after sanctions were first imposed, Iraq is being driven further
and further back in time. This oil-rich nation is becoming more and more

Even for babies lucky enough to leave hospital, the prospects are a life of
poverty and misery.

In Iraq, education used to be a priority, but under sanctions and Saddam, it
comes second to survival.

One 14-year-old boy I met sells cigarettes to support his family. Like about
half of Iraq's children, he's dropped out of school.

"My father is old, my mother can't work and my brother is a conscript. I
have to sell cigarettes to keep my family alive," he said.

If you do make it through school and on to university, you might wonder
whether it's worth it. Forget the internet, books from the 1970s and 80s may
be your latest works of reference.

Although there is a brain drain from Iraq, some students are staying.

Outdated books end up for sale on the streets

"Here education is free, so I think it's my turn to pay back, says one young
woman. "I'd stay here and I'd serve my country."

But in Iraq's blockaded economy, teachers and civil servants, for example,
earn around 50p a week. Out on the streets, many choose to sell their books
to supplement their income.

What is the point of graduating, some feel, if you end up at an auction
house, selling off your most treasured possessions just to make ends meet?

Recently, the United Nations have eased their blockade and would lift it
entirely if Saddam Hussein would comply with their demands.

But for now, those with nothing left to sell have one last choice - to beg.
A decade on, this is still the agony of sanctions, from birth until death.

United Nations, Reuters, 2nd November

Declaring ordinary Iraqis lived under "deep-seated poverty,"
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday Iraq had failed to order many
essential goods while vital equipment Baghdad needed was blocked in New

Although the humanitarian situation in Iraq had improved since the inception
of the UN "oil for food" program four years ago, he said the lives of Iraqis
were still miserable under the 10 year-old UN sanctions, with many bartering
food rations for other essential needs.

"The absence of normal economic activity has given rise to the spread of
deep-seated poverty," Annan said in a six-month report to the Security
Council on the programme under which Iraq sells oil to pay for needed
supplies under strict UN supervision.

Without mentioning the United States by name, Annan said the number of
"holds" on ordered goods by Iraq had risen drastically to $2.31 billion by
the end of October, thereby impeding electricity, water, transportation,
sanitation, telecommunications and oil spare parts. "This is certainly one
of the major factors that are impeding programme delivery," Annan said.

Almost all the blocked goods are by the United States, which says it is
trying to make sure equipment used for military purposes is not delivered.
But Annan indicated this reasoning was no longer valid because of an
"enhanced observation mechanism in the field."

The report, however, did not comment on Iraq stopping its oil exports on
Friday after Baghdad insisted that buyers of its crude pay a surcharge
outside the terms of the United Nations and they refused.

"As far as we know the oil is no longer flowing from the two authorized
ports," UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said. He said that UN oil experts have
been unable to get a response from Iraqi oil officials on Baghdad's pricing
policy, adding, "The secretary-general at this time has nothing to say
publicly on this."

Baghdad currently does not need more of its oil revenues to fund the
humanitarian programme because it has some $11 billion in a UN escrow
account through oil sales. Annan chastised Iraq for ordering only $2 billion
worth of supplies or 28 percent of the $7.8 billion earmarked funds for
central and southern Iraq during the past six months.

"For example, not a single application for either health or education
sectors had been submitted under the present phase," he said in the report.
To shake loose of UN sanctions, Iraq has to allow UN arms inspectors, barred
for two years, back into the country to check on its banned weapons of mass
destruction programmes.

"I deeply regret the continuing suffering of the Iraqi people and hope that
sanctions imposed on Iraq can be lifted sooner rather than later," Annan
said in the report. "But this demands that we find a way, somehow, to move
the Iraqi government into compliance with Security Council resolutions," he

CNN, December 2, 2000

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- Around 115 European politicians, clergymen and
members of non-governmental organisations have arrived in Baghdad from Paris
on board the latest flight to test United Nations sanctions against Iraq.

The plane landed at Baghdad airport, defying the United States and British
governments who argue that the U.N. sanctions committee must approve flights
into Iraq, the official news agency INA said.

At least 10 countries -- including Spain, Ireland and Russia -- have sent
planes to Baghdad to underline their view that humanitarian flights are not
subject to such restrictions.

The visitors received a warm welcome from Iraqi officials including Abdul
Razaq al Hashimi, head of the Iraqi friendship, peace and solidarity
organisation, and several parliamentarians.

Among the European delegation was former French Socialist Foreign Minister
Claude Cheysson.

"America has turned Saddam Hussein into the devil to justify its physical
and military presence in the Middle East," Cheysson said before departing
from Paris on Friday.
"President Hussein is more popular now than he was before the embargo was
imposed. It's criminal. The poor and the young are suffering and they have
no say."

Cheysson said he could not understand how other countries, especially
Britain, had followed the example of the United States and accepted the
sanctions imposed on Baghdad days after Hussein sent his forces into Kuwait
in August 1990.

"Britain has had a long relationship with the Middle East and it especially
knows how valuable Iraq is for oil and how weakening a country's people in
this way is historically a great mistake," he said.

His words were echoed by former French Ambassador to UNESCO Gisele Halimi,
who said: "Two thousand children are dying every week because the European
Union and the U.N. are under the menace of American dictates."

They applauded France for its view that resolutions of the U.N. Security
Council, of which France is a permanent member, did not affect passenger

Halimi said the group would visit a children's hospital and some of the
poorest parts of Baghdad.

"We are going to tell the world -- Listen, this has gone too far. We are
going to end the embargo," said Yves Buannic, founding president of
non-governmental organisation D'Enfants du Monde - Droits de l'Homme
(Children of the World - Human Rights).

On September 22, France allowed a plane to fly to Baghdad without giving the
U.N. committee its usual 24-hour notice.

France, along with Russia, argues that U.N. Security Council resolutions do
not specifically ban passenger flights provided their cargo is inspected.


BAGHDAD (AFP) - - Iraq and France signed an agreement for the organisation
of an archeology exhibition in the French city of Lyons in 2002, as a result
of bilateral cultural cooperation, said Iraq's INA news agency.

The agreement was signed by the under-secretary of State in the ministry of
Culture and Information, Abdel Halim al-Hajjaj, and the head of the French
diplomatic representation in Iraq, Andre Janier, at the launch of the first
French book fair in Baghdad.

Iraq, especially Kurdistan (North), is home to more than 10,000 noted
archeological sites, most of them still unexplored.

The news comes on a day when two French flights arrived in Baghdad,
challenging the international embargo which covers flight restrictions to

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