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NEWS, 31/12/006/1/01 NOTE that, despite the address any complaints should be sent to me (Peter Brooke) at firstname.lastname@example.org. The star item is of course von Sponeckıs letter to the Guardian, the comprehensive demolition of the usual FO arguments (in the Iraqi supplementı) * Saddam, Firing Shots in Air, Greets Big Army Parade * Saddam suffers severe strokeı [note that the report comes from the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Iran backed Shiıi opposition group which refuses to accept any financial support from the US. This inclines me to take what they say seriously.] * Iraq Says Reports of Saddam Illness Are Absurd * Saddam TV footage 'may have been doctored' * Gulf Arabs Sign Defense Pact, Soften Anti-Iraq Words [Gulf Co-operation Council meeting] * Gulf security pact [a commentary from the Pakistani paper, Dawn, which concludes that the GCC cannot hope to become in the near future an economic, political or security force to be reckoned with in the Middle East, let alone in world politicsı] * Presence of foreign troops irks Arabs: poll [this contains the interesting information that leading religious scholarsı are organising an apparently quite effective boycott of US goods in Saudi Arabia. Fast food chains are particularly badly hit] * Kuwait can pump oil for 132 years [so, other things being equal, it will be 132 years before the west throws it like a gnawed bone into the hands of Iraq] * British sanctions-breaking group leaves for Iraq * Buyers say Iraq oil sales still dogged by problems * India in touch with UN on Iraqi deal [This article may help to explain current Iraqi strategy, perhaps even including their refusal to restore normalı oil sales. The UN allows for exceptional direct deals outside the Oil for Foodı structure, such as the deal with Jordan. The Iraqis would like to multiply deals of this sort which are also in the interest of the other partner who thereby, in this instance at least, becomes an ally] * Iraq Slams UN for Delaying Decision to Aid Palestine * Iran to release Iraqi POWs * UN-Iraq Talks Seen Starting in Feb * Egyptıs exports to Iraq up * Iraqi official seeks expansion of trade relations with Iran * Iraq Sanctions Pose 'Moral Problem' Says Chirac * Syria Removes Restrictions on Travel to Iraq * Saddam's son attacks Russian firms [does Udayıs recent burst of activity hint at the likelihood of a succession struggle?] * Norway elected to head the UN Committe on Sanctions Against Iraq * UAE envoy may visit Baghdad shortly * Iraqi [sic. Should be Saudi PB] pilot remains found in the Iraqi desert * Turkey appoints first ambassador to Iraq since Gulf War * Iraq wants to boost trade with Pakistan IRAQI SUPPLEMENT (sent separately) * History Is the Best Proof [an article from the Tehran Times about the recent criticisms of Ayatollah Khomeini made ny his one-time designated successor Hossein Ali-Montazeri. The article is interesting here for what it says, rightly or wrongly, about the role played by the Mojahedin Khalq Organization in the Iraqi attack that launched the Iran-Iraq war] * The great survivor [long Guardian article on the triumph of S.Hussein] * Syria joins Iraq, Iran against Israel [on Bahar Assadıs foreign policy] * 'It is an outrage that you repeat fabricated disinformation' [letter to the Guardian from Graf Hans von Sponeck on Peter Hainıs defence of sanctions] * UK defends Iraq sanctions [Hainıs reply] * Iraq has a rich cultural heritage URL ONLY: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk_politics/newsid_1096000/1096054.stm * Bush faces Iraq dilemma by diplomatic correspondent Barnaby Mason BBC, 1st January [This article is just an attempt to spin some words out of Powellıs re-energise sanctionsı phrase] NEW WORLD ORDER SUPPLEMENT (sent separately) * U.S. Signs Treaty on War Crimes Tribunal * Global justice? Haider has heard that story before [Under the proposed court's rules, the United Nations Security Council (of which the US is one of five permanent members) can authorise a court prosecutor to investigate claims of crimes.This allows the US to have it both ways - avoid its citizens ever being tried, but ensuring it can initiate attempts to prosecute the war crimes of others.ı The Haiderı in question isnıt Jorg, but an Iraqi refugee called Haider Aljuboory] * Peace is the wrong strategy [Jerusalem Post article auggesting that Israel should emulate the US and abandon the failed strategy of employing peace as an element of strategic defenseı] * Peacekeepers [sic - PB] face radiation testing as more deaths reported [of soldiers serving in Kosovo, where depleted uranium was used] * First British Victim Of 'Balkan War Syndrome' Revealed * Nato urged to clean up its uranium debris in Kosovo * Back to the Future: Globalization Grows Up and Gets Political [by Fareed Zakaria, who has been appointed to become editor of Newsweek International] * Targeting Muslim countries [Pakistani former general compaining about the demonisation of Islam.] * Profile of the week: Osama bin Laden [as, for example ...] * 5 nations take turn on UN Council [Colombia, Ireland, Mauritius, Norway and Singapore are to be permitted on occasion to sit in the same room as the rulers of the world] * Briefing of the week: Bosnia [short extract on US deployment overseas. The article as a whole is interesting on Bushıs policy with regard to withdrawing from the Balkans.] * Holbrooke Leaves His Mark at U.N. [mainly on Holbrookeıs success in getting the US debt to the UN rescheduled] URL ONLY: http://www.dawn.com/2001/01/04/op.htm#1 * Will the UN sanctions on Afghanistan work? by Dr Ayesha Siddiqa-Agha Dawn, 4th January [Interesting article on one of the next horrors that is developing in the world] http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20001231/wl/iraq_parade_dc_1.html * Saddam, Firing Shots in Air, Greets Big Army Parade by Huda Majeed Saleh BAGHDAD (Reuters, 31st December) - President Saddam Hussein presided on Sunday over what appeared to be the biggest military parade in Baghdad since the 1991 Gulf War, greeting army units with shots from a rifle he held in one hand. The parade displayed sophisticated surface-to-surface and anti-aircraft missiles, artillery and over 1,000 modern, Russian-made tanks as well as infantry units. Saddam wore a blue suit and a hat and was accompanied by top aides in military fatigues on his reviewing stand. Formations of jet fighters and helicopter gunships hovered over central Baghdadıs Grand Festivities Square as forces representing all Iraqi military units, including the navy, infantry and paramilitary Saddam commandos, flowed past. Missiles in the four-hour parade were the Al-Samoud, Al-Fath and Al-Raad, all with ranges under 95 miles that do not violate U.N. arms-control restrictions. No figures was given for the number of troops or components of hardware taking part in the so-called Al-Aqsa Call Parade, intended as a show of support for Palestinians in their uprising against Israeli occupation. [.....] http://news.24.com/News24/World/Middle_East/0,1113,2-10-35_960249,00.html * Saddam suffers severe strokeı News 24, 1st January Damascus (Sapa-DPA) - An Iraqi opposition group claimed on Monday that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was rushed to a Baghdad hospital late on Sunday suffering from an apparent stroke after having officiated earlier at the countryıs biggest New Yearıs Day parade in 10 years. The Iraqi leader was being treated for ³a severe stroke² at Iben Sinna Hospital, said a statement issued by dissident leader Bayan Jaber of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The statement said the 63-year-old presidentıs condition was unknown but that he is still in the hospital on Monday. There was no mention of Saddamıs medical condition or whereabouts by the official Iraqi news media, which generally refrain from carrying news about his health or that of his family members. Hussein officiated on Sunday at the biggest military parade in Baghdad since the 1991 Gulf War. Flanked by top aides, Saddam wore a business suit and hat as he stood on a reviewing stand. He greeted army units with shots from a rifle he held in one hand as tanks rumbled past and fighter jets and helicopter gunships flew overhead. [.....] http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010103/ts/iraq_saddam_dc_2.html * Iraq Says Reports of Saddam Illness Are Absurd BAGHDAD (Reuters, January 3): Iraq Wednesday dismissed reports that President Saddam Hussein had suffered a stroke over the weekend. Some media outlets in England and Germany have run reports based on claims from the exiled Iraqi opposition that Saddam is in intensive care after the stroke. ``These reports are so silly that they do not even deserve a reply,'' said Salam Khatab al-Nassiri, director-general of the Information Department at the Ministry of Culture and Information. The official Iraqi News Agency (INA) said Saddam chaired a cabinet meeting Wednesday, the first in 2001. The cabinet hailed the Palestinian people's courage in their uprising against Israeli occupation, INA said. ``All of the world has seen how President Saddam Hussein had stood for more than five hours greeting units of our brave army at the Al-Aqsa Call Parade,'' Nassiri said. ``He also fired more than 140 shots one-handed, something most young people are unable to do -- this alone is enough as a reply to this absurd news,'' he added. [.....] http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_162319.html * Saddam TV footage 'may have been doctored' 4th January Iraqi TV footage showing an apparently healthy Saddam Hussein was manipulated by the Baghdad regime to dispel rumours that he is seriously ill, according to an Iraqi dissident. Dr Mowaffak Al'Rubaie, a London-based GP who left Iraq when Saddam came to power in 1979, said there were several peculiarities which suggested the pictures were not genuine. He said he has been monitoring Iraqi television output and believes the pictures have been broadcast before and that Saddam may have used a double. Dr Al'Rubaie said: "I've recorded many hours of this kind of footage from Iraqi satellite TV and I'm sure this was shown before, at least two weeks ago. "I noticed certain things like the way Saddam moves and turns around to look at a guard at one point. He does the exact same thing in an earlier broadcast. "They released footage before when there were rumours about his health of what was supposed to be him swimming across the River Tigres but it was clearly a younger man." Dr Al'Rubaie also cast doubt on the authenticity of footage apparently showing Saddam attending a military parade on Monday where he is seen standing on a balcony firing a rifle in the air. "I've watched this broadcast for several hours and watched the recording of it several times. There's not one second when you see Saddam together with the parade in the background. "The pictures of him firing the gun are either old or perhaps they were filmed separately. It could have been filmed inside for all we know as you never see the sky." Foreign Office Minister John Battle said Britain had no reliable evidence to confirm or refute reports suggesting the dictator might be seriously ill. http://www.latimes.com/wires/20001231/tCB00a0321.html * Gulf Arabs Sign Defense Pact, Soften Anti-Iraq Words by Rawhi Abeidoh, Reuters Los Angeles Times, December 31, 2000 MANAMALeaders of six oil-rich Gulf Arab states Sunday signed a long-delayed mutual defense pact to fend off potential external attacks, but softened anti-Iraq rhetoric. The pact calls for the defense resources of Gulf Cooperation Council (GGC) members Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar to be pooled. The six sit on over half of the worldıs oil reserves. ³This is the most important agreement signed by the GCC because for the first time it puts a legal framework to this type of cooperation,² Bahrainıs Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Mubarak al-Khalifa told a news conference after the summit. Officials said the pact by the GCC, which failed to defend fellow member Kuwait when it was invaded by Iraq a decade ago, would pave the way for a rapid deployment force to deter aggression. It also stipulates that an attack on any member would be considered as an attack against all GCC states. The Saudi-led GCC countries, which rely on the United States and other Western powers for their defense, have spent billions of dollars to boost their armies since Iraqıs 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But efforts to expand a small Saudi-based joint force set up in 1986 have so far failed. SOFTER TONE ON IRAQ A final communique at the end of the two-day summit did not include the routine strong condemnation of Iraq that has appeared in GCC statements since the Iraqi invasion. It urged Baghdad to open ³a comprehensive dialogue² with the U.N. Security Council to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction in a way that would lead to the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iraq since 1990. The communique said the GCC leaders would support any ³humanitarian effort that would contribute to ease the sufferings of the brotherly Iraqi people.² ³The GCC council affirms its determination to continue its efforts to eliminate these sufferings within the framework of international resolutions.² Earlier GCC statements have regularly blamed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his regime for his countryıs isolation. Delegates said the softened language was a compromise between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which wanted to maintain the crippling U.N. sanctions until Iraq obeyed all Security Council resolutions, and the UAE and Qatar, which called for their end. ³It is somehow different from previous communiques,² Sheikh Mohammed said. ³It contains a new spirit...We hope that Iraq will respond to U.N. resolutions so that we can achieve a settlement agreeable to all.² The delegates said the joint defense pact plan provided for the so-called ³Peninsula Shield² force to be expanded and equipped with a modern early warning system and a sophisticated communications network. ³It stipulates raising the number of soldiers four to five times to at least 25,000, so that it becomes a rapid deployment force until other troops from the member states can join in to repel potential attacks,² one delegate told Reuters. The proposal was presented by Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navyıs Fifth Fleet, and was swiftly supported by Kuwait, the delegates said. The delegates said the plan had already been approved by Gulf Arab defense ministers at a meeting in Riyadh in October. http://www.dawn.com/2001/01/03/ed.htm#2 * Gulf security pact Dawn, 2nd January THE defence pact signed by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council on Sunday does not come as a development with radically far-reaching implications for the geopolitics of the region. Perhaps its significance lies more in the fact that the treaty was signed at all: the defence ministers of the region had failed to affix their signatures to the document at their meeting in November 1999. Some of them believed that the treaty imposed too heavy a responsibility on them. Hence the symbolism of this defence pact should not be lost on anyone. The treaty commits all members to defend any partner who becomes a victim of foreign aggression. As though to make its weight felt, in its summit declaration the GCC proceeded to call on Iraq to prove its ³peaceful intentions² towards Kuwait. Secondly, the UAE was assured of the Councilıs support for its claim to the three disputed Gulf islands under Iranian occupation. It is doubtful if the coming together of these six states in a defence pact will by itself have much of an impact on the security of the Gulf. They already have a defence force - the 5,000 strong Peninsula Shield based in Hafar al-Baten in Saudi Arabia - which was set up in 1986 but did not lift a finger when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. Neither can it be expected that by signing a defence pact, the GCC members will find themselves in a position to get the western forces based in the region to withdraw. Although the US and British military presence in the region does not enjoy popular approval, the governments of the Gulf states continue to accept it because they lack confidence in their own military strength. Admittedly, security cooperation calls for identity of interests and commonality of approach - something that the Gulf states lack. They have also failed to forge significant economic cooperation among themselves in the 18 years of their existence as a grouping. The tariff union they were to inaugurate this year has been put off until 2005. In the absence of uniform tariffs, the GCC has failed to negotiate a free trade agreement with the European Union which it has been working on for several years. All this indicates how far the six countries still are from the closer ³coordination, integration and cooperation² which was the main goal envisaged by the signatories of the GCC charter in 1982 when the alliance was formed. Their aim of setting up a similar system in all fields, including economic, finance and trade, is also as elusive today as it was when the GCC was set up. The only area where the GCC has shown remarkable unanimity is that of regional and international issues. It has upheld the rights of the Palestinians vis-a-vis Israel and has called on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights and Al Quds. But these are issues which have only required the GCC members to extend verbal support to their Arab brethren and do not require them to commit themselves to any rigour or sacrifices that may be involved in active pursuit of the endorsed objective. Given this trend, the GCC cannot hope to become in the near future an economic, political or security force to be reckoned with in the Middle East, let alone in world politics. URL ONLY: http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/meast/12/31/arraf.debrief/ * Jane Arraf on changing attitudes in the Persian Gulf CNN, December 31, 2000 [Interview with CNN reporter on GCC conference. Doesnıt say much we donıt get better from the other articles] http://www.dawn.com/2001/01/01/int8.htm * Presence of foreign troops irks Arabs: poll by Syed Rashid Husain Dawn, 1 January 2001, 5 Shawwal 1421 RIYADH, Dec 31: A large number of GCC citizens participating in a newspaper survey have voiced opposition to the continued presence of foreign forces in the Gulf. This was disclosed in a survey conducted by the daily Asharq Al-Awsat on the eve of the GCC summit conference in Bahrain. Some 600 respondents from all over the Gulf participated in the survey. The participants in the survey included diplomats, journalists, engineers, government employees and students. ³The continued presence of western forces in some Gulf Cooperation Council states, triggered by the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, remained a disquieting obsession for some of the participants, who stressed the importance of ending their presence,² the daily said. ³They said the GCC states must depend on their own military forces,² the paper added. The participants also called for an Arab dialogue to lift the United Nations embargo on Iraq and to put an end to the sufferings of its people. They also called for lifting curbs on media. BOYCOTT: The ongoing boycott of US products in the Kingdom, as advised by leading religious scholars, is starting to have a profound effect on the market. Saudi economists estimate the local demand for US products has fallen by 20 to 25 percent since the campaign was launched, following the latest uprising in Palestine. One Saudi company, the sole distributor of several US food products, said it was worst hit by the boycott. Demand for its products has gone down by 64 per cent over the last two months. American fast food franchise outlets have also suffered an estimated 25 per cent decline in sales. http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=14&datee=01/01/01&id =105199 * Kuwait can pump oil for 132 years Haıaretz (Associated Press), 1st January Kuwait could keep pumping 2 million barrels of oil a day for the next 132 years before its vast reserves run out, according to a study published yesterday. Al-Watan daily reported the study by the state-owned Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. It said Kuwaitıs reserves were estimated at 96.5 billion barrels, 10.8 percent of the worldıs reserves. The reserves were 1.07 billion barrels higher before Iraq invaded the small Gulf country in August 1990, it said. Iraqi troops were forced out seven months later by a U.S.-led international coalition, but not before they sabotaged 732 oil wells and other oil installations. It took nine months to extinguish the blazing wells and cap the ones that were spewing crude. Most of Kuwaitıs reserves are in Burgan field that has 55 billion barrels, the daily quoted the study as saying. Kuwait is producing 2.14 million barrels a day, its quota from the Organization of Petroleum Producing Countries. Its economy is dependent on oil, but the state has some $50 billion in foreign investments - to provide for future generations when the oil wells dry up. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1095000/1095592.st m * British sanctions-breaking group leaves for Iraq BBC, 1st January A British group that campaigns against the United Nations sanctions on Iraq is preparing to take medical supplies to Baghdad. The group says that it will leave for Iraq later this week taking medical journals and materials without a government export licence so breaching the UN embargo. A spokesman for the group, called Voices in the Wilderness, said that in taking their action its members risked up to five yearsı imprisonment. But he said they believed the sanctions were killing thousands of children in Iraq and it was time to stop punishing ordinary families there. http://news.excite.com/news/r/010102/11/energy-iraq * Buyers say Iraq oil sales still dogged by problems by Sara El-Gammal LONDON, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Iraqıs regular lifters in Europe are shying away from negotiating new crude sale contracts with Baghdad as the ninth oil-for-food phase becomes riddled with problems, trading sources and customers said on Thursday. They warned that Iraqıs continued demand for a surcharge and below-market pricing formulas could see Baghdad lose market share to other crude suppliers, particularly in Northwest Europe and the Mediterranean region. ³(Iraqi president) Saddam is more bullying than ever but he may be pushing it too far this time and it could backfire,² said one trader, referring to a softening in the United Nations stance when Iraq dug in its heels during previous oil-for-food phases. ³(Iraqi marketer) SOMO are still insisting on a surcharge. They say nothing has changed but in a monthıs time, nobody will care about Iraq when the real winter is over,² said one Western customer. Iraqi exports averaged 2.3 million bpd before Baghdad suspended sales at the end of November in a series of wrangles over prices with the United Nations. The ninth six-month phase of oil-for-food started on December 6. Although some shipments have sailed since, sales are running at less than half normal volumes and supplies again have dried up in the past two days. ³I donıt think the ninth phase will take off at this stage. It is riddled with problems first the surcharge, then the prices. They (SOMO) are just not on the same wavelength as the market, perhaps on purpose, and time is passing and still no progress,² said another. Several customers said SOMO clearly indicated in contacts last week that unless lifters paid a surcharge into a non-U.N. controlled account for crude sales from the Gulf port of Mina al Bakr and the Turkish port of Ceyhan, no contracts would be drawn up. ³No surcharge, no oil. Simple. We did not accept to pay and we have not approached them for a new contract,² said a lifter. One customer said his company had tried to negotiate a ninth phase contract when oil began flowing from the Gulf port last month after it appeared Iraq had waived the surcharge demand, but were stopped in their tracks. SOMO privately said the additional fee remained in tact. ³We are wary of putting something in before we get a clear picture about this surcharge,² he said. ³We wonıt go back to SOMO until they come to us and say they are ready to do normal business.² Other lifters were wondering whether solid political ties between their countries and Iraq would result in the additional fee to be put aside. Should lifters succumb to Iraqi demands and pay the surcharge into an non-U.N. account, they would be breaking U.N. sanctions imposed on Baghdad for invading Kuwait in 1990. ³So far, they (SOMO) are not giving the green light before they receive something, some payment. They are not necessarily specifying 30 or 40 cents,² said a non-Western lifter. Only one tanker has taken oil from Iraqıs Turkish outlet of Ceyhan in December. No other tankers were expected at the port and a pipeline between Turkey and Iraq stopped pumping oil after storage tanks at the terminal filled up. At Mina al-Bakr, only one vessel which had been waiting for over a month remained anchored. Another vessel which failed to show up late December to load 1.5 million barrels of Basrah Light was tentatively expected at the terminal this week. Price discussions between SOMO and market traders for January exports to Europe appeared to have fallen on deaf ears, trading sources said. Iraqıs proposed January prices, which remained under wraps, were rejected by the United Nations Sanctions Committee on Friday as being below market levels. A similar rejection in December after reports that Baghdad had been demanding a surcharge on December exports led to a stoppage in Iraqi crude exports. Some traders said they had recommended to SOMO to increase Kirkuk prices by at least $1 for January to take into account a revival in rival Russian sour Urals which traded at Dated Brent -98 cents last week. The committee has already approved January prices for crude bound for Asia and the United States. http://www.economictimes.com/today/03comm03.htm * India in touch with UN on Iraqi deal Economic Times (India), 3rd January New Delhi: India has made informal contacts with members of the UN Security Council for their approval of a wheat-for-oil deal it has struck with Iraq recently. The proposal was made by Iraq at the recent meeting of the Indo-Iraqi Joint Commission meeting here in late November because Baghdad had been facing difficulties in getting imports of even commodities approved by the UN sanctions committee. More than $1 billion worth of goods bought under the food-for-oil program had been reported stuck in the pipelines for months. New Delhi, on the other hand, has been facing a funds crunch because of the sharp increase in the international price of oil. It was this mutual interest that led to the agreement in principleı of the wheat-for-oil barter trade agreement, which however has to be approved by the UN sanctions committee before being implemented. The agreement is outside the UNıs oil-for-food program for Iraq. Senior government officials are unwilling to go into the details of the program such as the quantity of oil and wheat to be exchanged and the pricing mechanism, but said the economic benefit to New Delhi would be significantı. India has a surplus wheat stock of 27 million tons and it is costing the government a huge sum on its storage. Officials in the external affairs ministry are hopeful that the deal would be approved by the Security Council, as under Article 50 of the Council charter, countries which are affected by UN sanctions against a particular member could seek a waiver on the sanctions as far as their trade with that member country is concerned. ³We did not want to go before the Security Council with a formal resolution, which could have produced a formal response,² one official said. He noted that a number of countries, particularly Jordan, had got the sanctions waived in respect of their trade with Iraq. In the case of Jordan, there are no restrictions today on its trade with Iraq.The official noted that before the Gulf War, Iraq accounted for 40 percent of Indiaıs project capital exports, besides being a huge market for other Indian exports. ³We donıt want to violate the sanctions regime; at the same time, we have a case (for approval of the deal),² the official added. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200101/02/eng20010102_59455.html * Iraq Slams UN for Delaying Decision to Aid Palestine Peoples Daily, 2nd January An official Iraqi daily on Tuesday slammed the United Nations Security Council for failing to reach an agreement on approval of Iraqi aid of 1 billion euro (some US$860 million) to Palestine. In an editorial, the official Al-Iraq stressed that if the UN Security Council is not governed by ³the US and its hegemony,² it should take practical steps to ratify the decision made by the Iraqi government. The editorial demanded the UN Security Council to approve the humanitarian decision quickly, as the Palestinians are subjected to the ³besiege² of Israel and Israel has obstructed the arrival of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territories. On December 9 last year, Iraq decided to allocate 1 billion euro from its oil export proceeds over a one-year period to support the the Palestiniansı intifada (uprising) against Israel. Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Said Al-Sahaf informed the UN Security Council of the Iraqi decision four days later and urged a quick and favorable response from the worldıs leading body. Under the Iraqi plan, Iraq will grant 300 million euro (about US$258 million) to the families of the Palestinians killed in the conflicts with Israeli soldiers since September 28, and 700 million euro (some 602 million dollars) to the Palestinian authority to buy food and medicine for the Palestinian people. The over-three-month-old clashes between the Palestinians and Israeli soldiers have killed over 300 people, mostly Palestinians, and injured thousands. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=5095025&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * Iran to release Iraqi POWs SEYYED TEHRAN, Iran, Jan. 2 (UPI) Iran plans to release some 20 Iraqi prisoners of war as a goodwill gesture to mark the new year, according to a source close to the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday. The source, who requested anonymity, told United Press International that the Iranian government decided on the releases for humanitarian reasons, to prove its good intentions to Iraq and show its wish to close the file on prisoners captured during the 1980-1988 war with Baghdad. He said Iran also wants to prompt Iraq into reciprocal releases. The source said Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf was expected to visit Tehran soon. He will meet with his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi, and others to discuss lingering issues and to move both countries to more stable relations from those prevailing since the end of the war. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=5095888&template=worldnews/ search.txt&index=recent * UN-Iraq Talks Seen Starting in Feb. UNITED NATIONS (Associated Press, Tue 2 Jan 2001) - Talks between the United Nations and Iraq on ending the stalemate over weapons inspections that were supposed to have begun in early Januay may not get off the ground until next month, a U.N. spokesman said. Secretary-General Kofi Annan wanted to hold the talks at U.N. headquarters prior to a scheduled Jan. 15 trip to Asia and Europe. But Iraq hasnıt yet responded to Annanıs request for ideas to shape the talks, leaving uncertain whether negotiations can get under way in the next two weeks. Deputy U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said Tuesday that Annan was not expected at U.N. headquarters until next week after taking a long New Yearıs holiday. Calls placed to Iraqıs U.N. mission were not returned Tuesday. Annan and Iraq agreed to begin the talks after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which ended last week. [.....] http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/13224451.htm * Egyptıs exports to Iraq up Athens, Jan 2, IRNA Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Obeid chaired a ministerial meeting in Cairo Tuesday attended by a number of Egyptian exporters to explore ways of promoting Egyptian exports to Iraq. Egyptıs Nile-TV reported the Egyptian minister of economy, Yusuf Butrus Ghali, telling reporters after the meeting that Egypt managed to increase exports to Iraq between October 1999 and October 2000 from dlrs 225 million to dlrs 1.3 billion. He noted that the new target is two billion dollars. The Minister cited pharmaceuticals, food and chemicals as examples of Egyptian exports to Iraq. http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/13234016.htm * Iraqi official seeks expansion of trade relations with Iran Kermanshah, Kermanshah Prov., Jan 2, IRNA Iraqi Deputy Trade Minister Fakhri Rishan arrived in Iran overland here Tuesday via Khosravi border post in western Iran, saying Iran and Iraq have capacities to expand their economic cooperation. ³I will discuss expansion of trade relations with Iranian officials,² he told IRNA after entering Iran for a five-day visit. He said that the two neighbors, Iran and Iraq, have good opportunities to expand their trade relations. Rishan, heading a high-ranking delegation, said that Khosravi border market is very important for Iran and Iraq. He expressed hope he would hold fruitful talks with Iranian officials. Iran and Iraq are making efforts to expand their relations in all ields after they fought the the 1980-1988 bloody war which claimed heavy casualties on both sides. Major stumbling blocks for an improvement in ties between the two neighbors are their support for each otherıs opposition groups and the release of prisoners of war from the 1980-1988 conflict, which ended without a formal peace treaty. In early December, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told visiting Iraqi undersecretary for foreign affairs Riad al-Qaissi that Tehran and Baghdad needed to respect the 1975 Algiers agreement that fixed the two countriesı borders. The 1975 agreement was signed between the shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein, who was vice-president at the time. The accord ended Iranian support for Kurdish rebels in Iraq in return for a sharing of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, known to Iranians as the Arvand Roud, which forms part of the two statesı border and runs into the Persian Gulf. In early November, Iranıs Minister of Roads and Transportation paid a three-day visit to Iraq. Hojjati held talks with his Iraqi First Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan on sea and land transportation, linking Central Asia to the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. Hojjati had crossed overland from the border and therefore had not broken the international air embargo on Baghdad that has been increasingly flouted in recent weeks by certain nations which call for an end to sanctions on Iraq. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi disregarded the embargo when he flew into Iraq earlier this month for talks on resolving issues between the two nations left over from their 1980-1988 war. It was the first visit to Baghdad by an Iranian foreign minister in a decade. Iran is still keeping its airspace closed to Iraqi planes in line with the 10-year-old UN air embargo despite sporadic suggestions to the contrary. http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010104/wl/france_iraq_dc_1.html * Iraq Sanctions Pose 'Moral Problem' Says Chirac PARIS (Reuters, Thursday January 4 ) - French President Jacques Chirac said on Thursday he was uncomfortable with continuing economic sanctions against Iraq, but said Baghdad had to realize it needed to co-operate with the United Nations. Making a traditional New Year address to the diplomatic corp in Paris, Chirac said long-term monitoring of Iraqi armaments should start immediately to speed the lifting of the sanctions. ``Maintaining (sanctions) for the 10th year running and thus badly hurting innocent people already enduring great suffering poses a political as well as a moral problem,'' Chirac said. He called on the United Nations Security Council to reach a rapid agreement on how to implement U.N. resolution 1284, which was adopted in December 1999 and offers an easing of sanctions if Baghdad allowed weapons inspectors to resume their work. Arms inspectors have not been let into Iraq since December 1998, when they left on the eve of a U.S.-British bombing raid, launched because Baghdad allegedly had not cooperated with U.N. experts investigating its weapons of mass destruction. Chirac said the United Nations had to convince Iraq there was ''no alternative to the implementation'' of resolution 1284. Turning to the ``Middle East conflict,'' Chirac said the European Union stood ready to help Israelis and Palestinians revive the shattered peace process. ``Alongside the United States, whose role is irreplaceable, the European Union can make a useful and even decisive contribution toward brokering the conclusion and implementation of an agreement,'' he said. He added that no peace deal would be complete without Syria and Lebanon also being taken into account. ``France's objective is to help Syria and Israel to overcome their mutual distrust and to renew dialogue,'' he said. http://www.latimes.com/wires/20010104/tCB00a4580.html * Syria Removes Restrictions on Travel to Iraq Los Angeles Times, 4th January DAMASCUS--Syria has removed restrictions on its citizens traveling to Iraq, the latest sign that ties between the two neighbors are improving after nearly two decades of animosity, an immigration official said on Thursday. "All Syrians can from now on travel to Iraq without any restrictions and all passports will not bear the 'excluding Iraq' sign," the official told Reuters. Ties between Syria and Iraq, ruled by rival factions of the Baath Party, were broken because of differences over Iraq's 1980-1988 war against Iran and invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Syria sided with Tehran during the Iraq-Iran war and joined a U.S.-led multinational force that drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in 1991. But the two countries reopened their borders and started economic cooperation nearly three years ago within the framework of Iraq's so-called oil-for-food program with the United Nations. Last November, Syria announced it was upgrading its ties with Iraq to full diplomatic relations. The office of Iraqi airways in Damascus, closed since the beginning of the 1980s, was reopened nearly two months ago while several Syrian planes have landed in Baghdad in defiance of the U.N. sanctions. http://www.worldnews.com/?action=display&article=5121793&template=worldnews/search.txt&index=recent * Saddam's son attacks Russian firms KADI BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The eldest son of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Uday, on Thursday attacked a number of Russian firms with business dealings in Iraq for being a "cover" for U.S. and British firms. Uday made his accusations about the companies, which operate as part of the United Nation's "oil for food" program, in a report to parliament. Uday said some Russian companies "work as a front" for U.S. and British firms that boycott Iraq. He added that these firms were being financed by Jewish businessmen and were relying on products imported from Israel. Uday urged the Iraqi Trade Ministry to be cautious and check the companies with which it was concluding contracts within the oil-for-food program, which is designed to enable Iraq to sell oil on the world market in order to purchase food for its people. Iraq recently announced that the number of Arab and foreign countries benefiting from the U.N. program, which was adopted in 1996, reached 71, with Russian firms having won contracts at more than $2.5 billion. http://www.norwaypost.no/content.asp?folder_id=1&cluster_id=14985 * Norway elected to head the UN Committe on Sanctions Against Iraq Norway Post, 4th January, 2001 At a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday, Norway was elected to head the UN Committe on Sanctions Against Iraq over the next two years. After Norway was appointed a new Council member, as of January 1st, it had been expected that Norway would be asked to head the committee. The task of the committee is to ensure that the sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime are respected, and to monitor the "oil for food" programme, which is intended to ensure that the civilian population is not suffering because of the sanctions. The committee has no mandate to change the sanctions. Norway's role will therefore be to lead the administration of the sanctions, Aftenposten writes. Norway's Foreign Minister, Thorbjoern Jagland, says that Norway has accepted a demanding and responsible task. We must try to make Saddam use money from the oil export to buy food, and to improve the situation for the civilian population, Jagland says. http://www.dawn.com/2001/01/04/int14.htm * UAE envoy may visit Baghdad shortly Dawn, 4th January RIYADH, Jan 3: Initiatives are under way to normalize relations between Iraq and some of its Gulf neighbours. A UAE envoy is expected to visit Baghdad shortly to sort out the differences between Iraq and its two Gulf neighbours, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It was reported here that a UAE envoy would head a delegation to Baghdad, with a mission of improving ties between Iraq and the Arab Gulf countries, specially Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The report points out that the UAE efforts at achieving reconciliation between the Gulf states and Iraq, bitter adversaries during the 1991 Gulf war, had already borne fruitful results, adding that the Saudi-Iraqi relations would witness 'substantial progress despite media campaigns' soon. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates has been a strong advocate of reconciliation between Iraq and its Gulf neighbours. UAE has been in the forefront of arranging humanitarian supplies to Baghdad in a situation when the other Gulf states have kept a distance from Iraq. Sources here say that it may not be easy to broker some sort of reconciliation between Iraq under Saddam and the other states. However, the public sentiments in the Gulf have changed drastically since the Gulf War in 1991 and there is a growing realization that something must be done to reduce the isolation and the sufferings of the brotherly people of Iraq. [I canıt be bothered to look for it but I think I saw a piece earlier in the week which said that this story had been denied, or at least the emissary disowned, by Kuwait PB] http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010105/2001010502.html * Iraqi pilot remains found in the Iraqi desert Arabic News, 5th January Iraq has announced that laboratory tests carried out by the International Red Cross stressed that the human remains found in the Iraqi desert are the remains of a Saudi pilot whose plane fell during the Gulf war in 1991. An official at the Iraqi foreign ministry said in press statements on Tuesday that the laboratory proved after testing the human remains that they are for the Saudi pilot whose plane downed on February 13, 1991. For its part the Iraqi weekly al-Rafedyeen ( the two tributaries of the Tigris and the Euphrates) said that the operation is completed and the four-years search has stopped for the Saudi pilot col. Muhammad al-Nazera and his plane. The remains of the Saudi pilot were found in October 2000 buried in a land mine in the desert, 50 Kms from the Iraqi- Saudi borders and the remains were sent to Geneva for test and to decide the identity of its owner. The weekly added that the remains of the plane was found just one kilometer from the burial site. http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/01/05/turkey.iraq.ap/index.html * Turkey appoints first ambassador to Iraq since Gulf War CNN, 5th January ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey has appointed its first ambassador to Iraq since scaling back relations with Baghdad following the 1991 Gulf War, an official said Friday. The appointment is the latest step in Turkey's policy of improving ties with Iraq, one of its largest trading partners before the Gulf War. Mehmet Akad, a diplomat serving at the Turkish embassy in Britain, will leave for Baghdad shortly, Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Dirioz said. Last year, two Turkish planes landed in Baghdad carrying humanitarian goods and business owners keen on clinching trade deals. Turkey was a member of the U.S.-led Gulf War alliance but repeatedly has said that U.N. economic sanctions against Baghdad are costing Turkey billions of dollars a year in lost trade. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has long opposed sanctions against Iraq but was eager not to upset the United States -- Turkey's closest ally -- which insists on strict enforcement of sanctions. Late last year, Turkey used a brief deterioration of relations with Washington to announce it would resume high-level diplomatic relations with Iraq. The move came as the U.S. Congress discussed a resolution that would have recognized the Ottoman Empire's World War I killing of Armenians as genocide. Turks protested the resolution, which was not passed. Turkey hosts U.S. and British warplanes that patrol a no-fly zone over northern Iraq. Turkey recalled its ambassador in 1991 but its embassy has remained opened and is staffed by a lower-ranking diplomat. http://www.dawn.com/2001/01/06/ebr9.htm * Iraq wants to boost trade with Pakistan Dawn, 6th January ISLAMABAD, Jan 5: Iraq would soon launch a 'Housing Plan' to construct low-cost houses for the government employees for which assistance of Pakistani builders would be sought, said the Iraqi Ambassador, Mr Abdul Karim M. Aswad. Iraq plans to execute a massive housing project of 3,00,000 houses across the country to provide residential facilities mainly to the low paid government servants. Appreciating the quality of the Pakistani building and construction material, he said it was of international standard and there was good opportunity for the Pakistani exporters. He said that there are possibilities of economic cooperation between Pakistan and Iraq in near future due to liberation of Iraqi economy from the unjust UN sanctions. Mr Abdul Karim said that Iraq is also interested in importing all types of goods like surgical instruments, electrical goods, ceramics, flush doors, iron and steel from Pakistan. He said his country is also interested in developing the economic, trade as well as political relations with Pakistan. The Ambassador disclosed that the eighth Joint Ministerial Commission JMC meeting of Pakistan and Iraq will be held at Islamabad in March 2001 to review the progress of implementation for expansion of economic cooperation between the two countries taken in the last JMC meeting held in Baghdad last February 2000. In the JMC meeting the Iraqi delegation will be headed by the Minister for Housing while the Pakistani delegation will be led by the Minister for Commerce and Industries, Abdur Razzaq Dawood. The Iraqi Ambassador said that a one week international trade fair is being organized in Baghdad in February 2001 mainly for Computers and Telecom which will provide a good opportunity to Pakistani exporters to introduce their goods and services in Iraqi market. This Exhibition is being held immediately after a single country exhibition, being organised by Pakistan in Baghdad mainly displaying Pakistans pharmaceutical products in January 2001 which are in great demand in Iraq. The Ambassador further stated that an Iraqi Arts Exhibition, sponsored by the PNCA, will be held in Islamabad from January 11 for three days, at Lahore on 15th and 16th January and at Karachi from 18th to 20th January 2001 to promote cultural cooperation between the people of the two countries. The Ambassador expressed pleasure and satisfaction over the growing cooperation between the two countries in various fields and said that he was enjoying full cooperation and support of Pakistani Government and people in furthering these brotherly ties and economic bonds.-PPI -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk