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NEWS 21-27/1/01 Owing to lack of time this is a modest mailing compared to previous efforts. Main items are probably the oil ones, and the possibility that Iraq is succeeding in imposing its surcharge; the likelihood of a visit by the Pope; the WHO inspection of the effects of DU on civilians (potentially a much more important development than the enquiries into the effects on soldiers in the Balkans); and the excuse that factories capable of producing chlorine may provide for new bombing raids. IRAQI LARGESSE * U.S. nationals seek Iraqi financial aid, Iraq says * U.N. council kills Iraqi plan to aid Palestinians BOMBING RAIDS * 6 Iraqis die in Western air attack * Iraq: Allied Warplane Confrontations BRITISH POLICY * Britain Shows Flexibility on Iraq Arms Inspections * Calmer tone on Iraq from MoD REVIEW OF SANCTIONS POLICY * Sanctions on Iraq only benefited Baghdad's ruling elite' * Kuwaiti FM backs call to lift sanctions on Iraq * Iraq demands 'action' from Kuwait to lift sanctions * Ankara Supports Lifting U.N. Sanctions Against Iraq * UN panel head Norway wants review of Iraq sanctions * Powell asks staff to look at Iraq, other sanctions UN et al INSPECTIONS * An End to the Impasse? U.N. Seems Ready to Appoint Weapons Inspector for Iraq * WHO plans Iraqi uranium study * Nuclear Inspectors Praise Iraq * Iraq: UN technical team to visit next month * UN, Iraq ready aid distribution plan OIL STORY * Iraq sells to obscure companies as exports remain patchy * UN not pursuing illegal oil surcharges paid to Iraq * U.S. firms play key role in Iraq export revival * Poor refining margins obstacle to Iraq crude sales FACTORIES OF DEATH * Pressure on Iraq over 'new weapons' * Iraq dismisses N.Y.Times report on arms as groundless * London and Washington fear revival of Saddam [See also, in Iraqi supplement: * West Must Answer Saddam's Threat] OTHER * Iraq to sign free trade agreement with Syria * Pope defies West with Iraq visit * Iraq, Syria to invite Turkey to water-sharing meeting in Baghdad * Iraqi asylum seekers treble in a year * Baghdad settles war scores on celluloid * Iraq Protests over World Cup Qualifier Venue Change * Reno Lifted Restrictions on Iraqis * Chantal Kreviazuk Offers Peace And Hope In Iraq * Egypt cautious over Iraqi flight request * Turkey and Iraq for developing trade and economic relations IRAQ SUPPLEMENT, 21-27/1/01 (sent separately) * Ten Years after the Gulf War [Naive and apparently innocent article the 'Arab solution for an Arab problem' advocated by Egypt failed because of the differences of opinion among Arab countries on Iraq's invasion to Kuwait¹ which ends up naively invoking SC resolution 687 which calls for the removal of ALL weapons of mass destruction from the Middle East, not just Iraqi ones] * Baghdad booms as Saddam turns sanctions into gold [ The road from the Jordanian capital of Amman may be crowded, bumpy and narrow, but once across the border, and past a recent statue of a sword-wielding Saddam on a rearing horse flanked by four flaring Scuds, you hurtle along a new six-lane motorway complete with laybys and picnic spots.¹] * Baghdad wolf woos Arab fold [Surprisingly moderate article from Ha¹aretz in which an American diplomat¹ argues convincingly that Israel has nothing to fear from Iraq. Is he going to keep his job?] * West Must Answer Saddam's Threat [and, by way of contrast, a hysterical piece from the New York Daily News which suiggests that the US has everything to fear from Iraqi factories capable of manufacturing chlorine] http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=7481 * U.S. NATIONALS SEEK IRAQI FINANCIAL AID, IRAQ SAYS Baghdad, Reuters, 21st january Several U.S. nationals have contacted Iraq to see how they can benefit from a gift of $94 million Baghdad had offered as humanitarian aid to poor Americans, a senior Iraqi official said. "Several Americans wrote messages to us through the Internet asking how they can get the aid Iraq has offered," Iraq's Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed Al Sahaf said in an Iraqi television interview late on Friday night. Iraq sought UN clearance on Friday for the gift, telling Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a letter that the money was an expression of "deep sympathy for the human suffering and wretchedness of some 30 million U.S. citizens who live below the poverty line". "The vast majority of those people are black citizens who continue to suffer from persecution and discrimination and live on refuse, deprived of the most basic means of subsistence," Sahaf said. "Their continued suffering must not be met with silence," said the letter, which did not spell out how Baghdad planned to distribute the money if it were approved. The offer of assistance is Baghdad's second in recent weeks, made in an apparent effort to embarrass champions of the UN sanctions regime including the United States and Britain. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein last December pledged one billion euros to Palestinians to aid their uprising against Israeli occupation. http://news.excite.com/news/r/010124/15/iraq-un-palestine * U.N. COUNCIL KILLS IRAQI PLAN TO AID PALESTINIANS by Irwin Arieff UNITED NATIONS (Reuters, January 24) - An Iraqi plan to give more than $900 million to aid the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation has died a quiet death in the U.N. Security Council, diplomats said Wednesday. "At this stage it is going nowhere," said Palestinian U.N. delegate Nasser al-Kidwa. "It doesn't seem the atmosphere in the Security Council is very conducive to this right now." Iraqi President Saddam Hussein last month promised 300 million euros ($276 million) to help the families of Palestinians killed or wounded in their uprising and another 700 million euros ($644 million) to buy food and medicine for the Palestinians. At least 310 Palestinians have been killed in the violence since the uprising began in September. Forty-seven Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have also died. The gift required the approval of the 15-nation Security Council because the money would come from Iraqi oil sales made under the U.N. food for peace program, intended to cushion the people of Iraq from the effects of economic sanctions imposed on Baghdad over its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The program allows Baghdad to sell oil and use the proceeds to buy food, medicine and other essential goods. But the sanctions regime is closely monitored by a special Security Council committee, with representatives of all 15 council member nations. The panel is required to approve every Iraqi expenditure under the program. If it cannot agree on a spending request, it kicks the matter up to the Security Council, which is what happened in the case of the Palestinian gift proposal, the panel's chairman Ole Peter Kolby of Norway told Reuters. When Kolby informed the council of the impasse in his committee Monday, delegates greeted the announcement with utter silence. Two days later, no council member had asked for a discussion at the council level, diplomats said. And without council approval, the proposal dies, though theoretically it could be revived at a later date, they said. "We have consulted with members of the council but we are also aware that things like that need the consensus of the council," Palestine's al-Kidwa said in a telephone interview. During closed-door committee meetings, France, Russia and China expressed support for the Iraqi request but the United States and Britain blocked any action, arguing the United Nations had other means to help Palestinians without diverting funds from needy Iraqis. The Palestinian aid is not the only gift request put forward by Baghdad. Iraq last week sought U.N. clearance for a gift of 100 million euros ($94 million) to "homeless and wretched" Americans living in poverty. Washington called that plan "ridiculous and nonsensical," accusing Baghdad of "playing political games with the world." Baghdad wants the sanctions lifted, arguing it has fulfilled its obligation under council resolutions to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. The council says Iraq must first let weapons inspectors return to verify its claims. http://www.dawn.com/2001/01/22/top16.htm * 6 IRAQIS DIE IN WESTERN AIR ATTACK SAMAWA (Iraq, Reuters), Jan 21: Citizens of the southern province of Muthanna lashed out at the United States and Britain on Sunday during a funeral procession of six people who were killed in a Western air attack in southern Iraq on Saturday. Iraqi newspapers said on Sunday that the death toll from Western air attack on southern Iraq on Saturday had risen to six. The mourners also denounced regimes of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for housing the planes that patrol the southern no-fly zone. Reporters working for Western news agencies and television networks were taken on Sunday by the Iraqi ministry of culture and information to the area where Iraq said it was raided by US and British planes. "This crime was carried out by US and British planes in direct support from the Kuwaiti and Saudi regimes," Governor of Muthanna province Ayad Khaleel Zaki, who attended the funeral, told reporters. A Reuters photographer said the raid struck a fodder warehouse of irrigation ministry, 120 km south of Samawa near the Iraqi-Saudi border. He said part of the warehouse was destroyed but nearby houses were not damaged. There were no Iraqi military units in the area. The photographer said six of the employees at the warehouse were killed in the attack and three others were slightly injured. http://www.baghdad.com/?action=display&article=5405343&template=baghdad/inde xsearch.txt&index=recent * IRAQ: ALLIED WARPLANE CONFRONTATIONS BAGHDAD, Iraq (Associated Press, Mon 22 Jan 2001) Iraq reported Monday that U.S. and British warplanes had bombed civilian buildings in the northern and southern parts of the country. No casualties were reported in the airstrikes, the second since the Saturday inauguration of President Bush. In a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency, Iraq's military said ``enemy ravens, with direct support from the rulers of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, violated our national airspace ... and bombed some of our civil and service installations.'' The statement said there were bombings in both the northern and southern no-fly zones but did not specify exactly where. ``Civil and service installations'' usually refer to government offices offering public services. On Saturday, Iraq said six people were killed and three injured in airstrikes by U.S. and British warplanes over southern Iraq. It said its air defense units hit one of the aircraft. The U.S. military denied that any aircraft was hit, saying all planes returned safely following a raid in response to Iraqi anti-aircraft fire. [.....] http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010122/wl/iraq_britain_dc_1.html * BRITAIN SHOWS FLEXIBILITY ON IRAQ ARMS INSPECTIONS by Duncan Shiels LONDON (Reuters, 22nd January) - In a renewed sign of flexibility, Britain said on Monday that Iraq did not have to accept ``hook, line and sinker'' a U.N. resolution on arms inspections in order to discuss how such inspections might resume. The December 1999 resolution promises a suspension of U.N. sanctions six months after the resumption of inspections of suspected Iraqi weapons sites. The inspections were broken off in 1998. U.S. and British forces bombed Iraq in retaliation for Baghdad's alleged non cooperation. ``Iraq doesn't have to accept Resolution 1284 hook line and sinker without clarifying both the style and the practice of... the weapons inspection team on the one hand and without seeking the necessary clarification of the modalities of inspection that they have genuine anxieties over,'' junior Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain told Reuters. ``The key is getting weapons inspectors back in and getting sanctions suspended, and that could happen within 180 days of letting the weapons inspectors back in.'' But Hain, speaking after addressing the Royal Institute of International Affairs, insisted that Resolution 1284 was still the bedrock of any movement on the issue of the lifting of U.N. sanctions, imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. ``In the end Iraq does have to accept Resolution 1284 to move the situation forward,'' he said. Hain first indicated a desire to see the current stalemate broken week when he said last week that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would find ``reasonable people ready to do business'' if he signaled a readiness to negotiate. ``I think everybody would want to show goodwill, and everybody would want to show flexibility,'' Hain told Reuters in an interview. PRESSURE TO EASE IRAQI SUFFERING The apparent diplomatic shift by Britain -- Washington's most steadfast ally against Saddam -- comes in the face of growing demands from the Arab world, Russia and France for an end to the suffering of Iraqi civilians. Hain has been one of Saddam's most outspoken critics, highlighting allegations of human rights abuses, corruption and reports of continued work on illicit Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in an effort to maintain pressure on Baghdad. But British diplomats have privately signaled unease at the continued impasse over sanctions and said Britain would try to persuade the United States to end patrols over the no-fly zone in southern Iraq, which they said were risky and costly and a source of resentment in neighboring Saudi Arabia. Hain said Iraq had been biding its time while awaiting the incoming administration of U.S. President George W. Bush (news - web sites), and, despite talk by Bush and some of his appointees of more robust U.S. action against Baghdad, he said Iraq saw a new opportunity. ``Everyone wants to move the situation in Iraq on...And the advent of the new U.S. administration, which Baghdad has said privately it was waiting for before it considered where it stood, is an opportunity to take things forward,'' he said. In his speech to the Royal Institute entitled ``The End of Foreign Policy?'' Hain pleaded for governments to refrain from the pursuit of narrow national interest in a world where the biggest problems -- global warming, AIDS (news - web sites) and drug abuse and trafficking -- needed cross-border cooperation. ``We live in a world where there is no longer such a place as 'abroad','' he said. http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,427759,00.html * CALMER TONE ON IRAQ FROM MOD by Richard Norton-Taylor Guardian, January 25, 2001 Britain seemed to change its tone towards Iraq yesterday, playing down reports in the US that Saddam Hussein had rebuilt three chemical weapons factories and saying that threats posed to British and US aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones had diminished. There is "no threat yet" from Iraqi nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, said a senior Ministry of Defence official, who added that the past year had seen fewer threats to the patrolling jets. His remarks were in contrast to recent rhetoric from ministers directed at the Iraqi dictator. They also stood in contrast to a US intelligence report stating there was "no let-up" in Iraq's drive "to reconstitute its [pre-Gulf war] weapons and missile capabilities". The MoD's shift in tone coincided with praise for Iraq by experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Ahmed Abu Zahra, head of the agency's team, refused to comment on whether the group had found evidence that Iraq was reviving its nuclear weapons facilities, but he told Reuters in Baghdad: "Everything went well, we found good cooperation from our counterparts in Iraq and from the Iraqi Atomic Energy Organisation." However, the senior MoD official did say that if there were evidence of Iraq rebuilding its arsenals or working on weapons of mass destruction, Britain and the US would have no hesitation in bombing relevant sites. Although the official said that Britain's "overall strategic objectives" remained the same, the change in tone may reflect a realisation in Whitehall that US and British tactics have not swayed President Saddam. MoD figures released yesterday said that US and British jets had dropped 500 bombs on Iraq last year compared to 1,500 in 1999. British pilots dropped 36 bombs last year. Although the official said that "we do not want to up the temperature", he said there were other reasons for the relative decline in the number of times British pilots had reacted to Iraqi artillery fire or missiles. The pilots, who have flexible rules of engagement, did not want to respond in a predictable way, he said. Figures given yesterday to Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrats' foreign affairs spokesman, suggest that the bombing rate has risen slightly in the past few weeks. Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, revealed that patrolling the no-fly zones had cost Britain £911m since 1982. http://www.timesofindia.com/220101/22mide4.htm * SANCTIONS ON IRAQ ONLY BENEFITED BAGHDAD'S RULING ELITE' Times of India, 22nd January KUWAIT CITY: A Kuwaiti newspaper called on Sunday for the lifting of "sanctions on the Iraqi people", saying the UN embargo in force since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait had only served the leadership in Baghdad. "We say, motivated by Kuwait's conscience, lift the siege on the Iraqi people, and target sanctions directly at the ruling elite," said the liberal-leaning Al-Rai Al-Aam in a rare Kuwaiti call for an end to the sanctions. It said in a front-page editorial that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's government had "greatly benefited from the international sanctions." "The regime won't fall if it is not targeted directly," the paper said, adding that the decade old sanctions had provided Baghdad with "a fortress in which to use Iraqis as human shields." Al-Rai Al-Aam said that "the Iraqi regime must be punished, and the Iraqi people must be liberated," taking up the theme of "smart sanctions" to target the leadership in Baghdad. "There is no point in allowing the (Baghdad) regime to plant hatred in generation after generation" of Iraqis, who blame the West as well Kuwait for the continued sanctions, it said. "We, in Kuwait, are the first to realise this fact", the paper added. The call for a lifting of sanctions was expected to stir a heated debate in Kuwait, where people have little trust in Iraq, following its seven-month occupation which was rolled back by the US-led coalition 1991 Gulf War against Saddam Hussein's regime. It came a week after the 10th anniversary of the start of the conflict and followed Saturday's swearing in of US President George W. Bush, whose country imposed the sanctions and has been fiercely opposed to lifting them. (AFP) http://www.timesofindia.com/230101/23mide9.htm * KUWAITI FM BACKS CALL TO LIFT SANCTIONS ON IRAQ Times of India, 23rd January KUWAIT CITY: Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah on Monday backed a call in a Kuwaiti newspaper to lift the decade-old UN sanctions on the emirate's former occupier Iraq but accused Baghdad of a new "escalation". "I was the first to call Jassem Bodai (the paper's editor) to congratulate him for his brave editorial," Sheikh Sabah told reporters in parliament. Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper called Sunday for the lifting of "sanctions on the Iraqi people," saying the UN embargo in force since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait had only served to strengthen the leadership in Baghdad. "We say, motivated by Kuwait's conscience, lift the siege on the Iraqi people, and target sanctions directly at the ruling elite," said the paper, in a rare Kuwaiti call for an end to the embargo. But Sheikh Sabah charged that the Iraqi leadership itself opposed lifting sanctions. "The issue is that the Iraqi regime does not want (to see) the sanctions lifted," he said. The foreign minister also regretted a threat from Baghdad that it could withdraw recognition of the emirate's territorial integrity over its support for US and British air strikes. The warning came a day after Baghdad said six civilians were killed in a raid on southern Iraq, which western planes patrol from bases in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as well as aircraft carriers in the Gulf. "We hope that reason should guide whatever is said in the Iraqi press or by officials. But it is regrettable that they have decided to escalate the issue," Sheikh Sabah said. "This escalation is not against Kuwait only, but also against the UN and its resolutions. I don't think this would serve the Iraqi interests," he added. A US-led coalition evicted Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War. Three years later, Iraq officially recognised the state of Kuwait and its UN-demarcated borders. But MP Uday Saddam Hussein, elder son of the Iraqi president, called last week for parliament "to prepare a map of the whole of Iraq, including Kuwait City, as an integral part of Greater Iraq." Iraqi officials have since played down Uday's call in the face of international protests. (AFP) http://www.timesofindia.com/250101/25mide7.htm * IRAQ DEMANDS 'ACTION' FROM KUWAIT TO LIFT SANCTIONS Times of India, 25th January BAGHDAD: An official Iraqi newspaper reacted with scepticism on Wednesday to a Kuwaiti call for a lifting of the decade-old UN sanctions against its former occupier. "There is no concrete proof that they have changed their policies ... because change must come through action, not words whose aims can be deceiving," said Ath-Thawra, mouthpiece of the ruling Baath party. On Monday, Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah backed a call in a Kuwaiti newspaper to lift the sanctions, which it said had only served to harm the Iraqi people while boosting the leadership in Baghdad. "We say, motivated by Kuwait's conscience, lift the siege on the Iraqi people, and target sanctions directly at the ruling elite," said the newspaper. Ath-Thawra laid down a list of conditions for an improvement in ties between Baghdad and Kuwait City. The emirate would have to change its stand in international and regional forums, halt its support for US and British overflights of Iraqi territory, and "stop playing the card of the missing whom it says are prisoners," the paper said. Iraq has been under sanctions linked to disarmament ever since its August 1990-February 1991 occupation of Kuwait. (AFP) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46806-2001Jan25.html * ANKARA SUPPORTS LIFTING U.N. SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ by John Ward Anderson ANKARA, Turkey (Washington Post foreign service, January 26, 2001) -- Turkey, a key NATO ally that provides a military base for fighter jets enforcing a "no-fly" zone over northern Iraq, favors lifting sanctions against Iraq if effective checks on its military can be enforced. "Iraq was one of our main trade partners before the Gulf War," Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said in an interview this week, noting that his country has lost about $35 billion in trade since U.N. sanctions were enacted after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Turkey would favor lifting the embargo, he said, "provided that controls on, checks on, military preparedness are continued . . . but it should not deprive us of our economic interests." Ecevit's comments come as there is broader international apprehension about what the new Bush administration's policy will be regarding sanctions against Iraq, which many countries are ignoring. Analysts and politicians here have expressed concern that Bush and his aides - many of whom were top U.S. policymakers during the 1991 Persian Gulf War -- might take an even tougher stance against Iraq than did the Clinton administration. Ecevit seemed to signal that while his government will continue to allow the use of Incirlik Air Base for flights that enforce the no-fly zone, it has become increasingly difficult to support sanctions that strike so hard at Turkey and which so many other countries are violating. Though Turkey has recently appointed an ambassador to Iraq and sent humanitarian aid flights to its southern neighbor, Ecevit said "it would be unfair to put the blame on Turkey" for eroding international support for the embargo. "Turkey has been the major sufferer of the embargo on Iraq" while loyally adhering to it. The United States supports the sanctions as a way to isolate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and contribute to what it hopes will be the collapse of his government. Many analysts say that Turkey does not necessarily support that goal because of its concern that without a strong leader in Baghdad, Iraq could splinter and cause the creation of a Kurdish nation in the north that would entice Kurdish areas in southern Turkey to break away and join in a new state. "It's not our concern who continues the leadership of this or that or any other country," Ecevit said. "Saddam is there in the position of leadership, and that's a fact we cannot change. The United States has tried to change it for several years, but to no avail. But whoever is in power, I hope the country will take steps for its development in a democratic and peaceful way." The Kurdish issue in the southeast, where more than 30,000 people have disappeared or been killed in 16 years of conflict between Turkish forces and separatist rebels, remains one of Turkey's thorniest problems. Many analysts say that following the February 1999 arrest of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the separatist Kurdish Workers' Party, the Turkish government is still relying on military options even after effectively winning the conflict. "It is true the separatist Kurdish terrorism has diminished in the last year or two, but it has not ended," Ecevit said. "The armed terrorists are still existing on our borders, in northern Iraq. They can always resume their attacks." Ecevit outlined an expansive vision of Turkey's role in the region and the world, noting its strategic location as a bridge between Europe and Asia and its network of alliances with the United States, Europe and NATO, as well as with Israel and other Middle Eastern countries. "The United States realized before any other Western country that Turkey's importance has increased since the ending of the bipolar world," Ecevit said. "I'm sure that relations with the United States will continue in a strategic way under President Bush's administration as well." http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=7892 * UN PANEL HEAD NORWAY WANTS REVIEW OF IRAQ SANCTIONS Oslo, Reuters, 26th January Norway, heading a key UN Security Council committee on Iraq, said yesterday it wanted to target UN sanctions more directly against President Saddam Hussein and ease the suffering of ordinary Iraqis. "I think we should try to target them (sanctions) in a better way if that is possible," Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland told reporters during talks with visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa. "We have to take into account the humanitarian situation in the country." Norway took over this month from the Netherlands as head of the 15-member, UN Security Council committee monitoring sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Egypt has led calls for Iraq to be reintegrated into the Arab world 10 years after a U.S.-led coalition ousted Saddam's forces from Kuwait in the Gulf War. Cairo says sanctions punish Iraq's people more than its leaders. "The best thing would be to implement (UN Security Council) Resolution 1284," Jagland said. "But what is needed then is that Iraq comply with demands from the United Nations." Resolution 1284, passed in December 1999, promises a suspension of UN sanctions six months after the resumption of inspections of suspected Iraqi weapons sites. The inspections were broken off in 1998 and Iraq says it will not accept a new UN arms inspection team, saying that it has already destroyed its arms of mass destruction. U.S. and British forces bombed Iraq in retaliation for Baghdad's alleged non-cooperation. Jagland declined to spell out how sanctions might be targeted against Iraqi leaders, saying he had first to consult other Security Council members. "If it is possible to get more smart sanctions I would appreciate it very much. But the situation is very, very complicated," he said. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has asked his assistants to come up with ideas on how to reinvigorate the sanctions, in line with the new Bush administration's campaign promises, a State Department spokesman said on Wednesday. The United States has expressed dismay at a recent erosion of the sanctions regime, through flights to Baghdad without UN approval and through the unauthorised export of Iraqi oil via Turkey, Iran and Syria.Moussa, who arrived in Norway for a one-day visit after a trip to Sweden, the current president of the European Union, declined to outline his views on Iraq. He said he and Jagland would discuss the sanctions late yesterday. Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan visited Cairo last week for the highest level visit since Iraq invaded Kuwait. In Rome earlier yesterday, Iraqi Health Minister Umeed Madhat Mubarak said his country had adhered to terms of its UN-supervised oil-for-food agreement but that the United Nations was holding up important contracts. http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/01/24/iraq.usa.sanctions.reut/index.html * POWELL ASKS STAFF TO LOOK AT IRAQ, OTHER SANCTIONS CNN, January 24, 2001 WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has asked his assistants to come up with ideas on how to reinvigorate sanctions against Iraq, in line with the new Bush administration's campaign promises, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Wednesday. Separately, Powell has asked State Department officials to look at the range of sanctions which the United States imposes on foreign countries, possibly to reconsider them, he added. The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, led by the assistant secretary Edward Walker, is the main department looking at the Iraqi sanctions, imposed by the United Nations in 1990 after Iraqi forces invaded neighboring Kuwait. The United States has watched in dismay as the sanctions against Iraq gradually erode, through flights to Baghdad without U.N. approval and through the unauthorized export of Iraqi oil through Turkey, Iran and Syria. President George W. Bush said in his election campaign that he would like to tighten up the sanctions system through coordination with Washington's allies. But analysts say they doubt the United States can make much headway toward persuading Russia and France, fellow members of the U.N. Security Council, to take a firm stand. Boucher said: "He (Secretary Powell) has asked various people in this building to look at the issue of sanctions in Iraq and come up with ideas about how he might achieve his goals of re-energizing them." "There's no question in his mind about the need for the international sanctions on Iraq to be maintained and re-energized so that Iraq can't reconstitute its threat to the region," the spokesman added. "He has separately asked other people in this building to look at the panoply of U.S. sanctions, so that we can get a handle on that and look at how we conduct those," he said. Boucher did not say whether the reviews were formal or whether Powell had set up any committees. He also mentioned no deadlines for Powell's assistants to report back. In his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, Powell said he wanted to review all the sanctions in place, with a view to removing some of them. He said State Department officials were spending too much time on tasks such as certifying the behavior of foreign countries to check if they are liable to sanctions. One of the most controversial examples is the annual certification of countries which are cooperating with the United States in the war against illegal drugs. Powell said: "I've got battalions of lawyers and experts and analysts who want to be worrying about a regional strategy for the Andes, who are instead writing long reports about who should be certified or not certified." "That's not the best use of our talent," he added. Many of the sanctions are mandated by Congress, so the administration can remove them only by asking for a repeal of the legislation which put them in place. Powell said he wanted members of Congress to "count to 10" before they pass sanctions, especially in response to a particular constituent interest. "They (sanctions) just keep coming. I think I've seen about half a dozen new ones even before I took office in the last couple of weeks," he added. But in some cases sanctions could be useful, he added. "It should be one of the tools available to the administration, the president and the secretary of state in discussing a full range of issues with another nation," he said. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/iraq000126.html * AN END TO THE IMPASSE? U.N. SEEMS READY TO APPOINT WEAPONS INSPECTOR FOR IRAQ UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 26 The U.N. Security Council¹s weeks-long deadlock over the selection of an executive chairman for a new U.N. Iraq disarmament commission may end soon. Hans Blix of Sweden, a former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), appeared likely to be appointed hed the [SIC head of?] the new U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, or UNMOVIC, diplomats said late on Tuesday. His name had been proposed informally by France and a Western diplomat said he was acceptable to the United States. Russia was also said to be agreeable to his appointment. FRANCE: WE LIKE THE SWEDES¹ Last week, Secretary-General Kofi Annan attempted to break the impasse by nominating Rolf Ekeus, also a Swede, for the post. But Russia, China and France, three permanent members of the Security Council most sympathetic to Iraq, opposed him. Ekeus had headed UNMOVIC¹s predecessor, the U.N. Special Commission, or UNSCOM, from 1991 to 1997, and they said the new agency needed to make a fresh start. ³You know we like the Swedes,² French Ambassador Alain Dejammet quipped, in confirming his support for the 71-year-old Blix, who headed the Vienna-based IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, for 16 years until January 1998. During those years Blix sent IAEA specialists to Iraq to work with Ekeus¹s teams, but many specialists did not consider the nuclear agency as tough as UNSCOM¹s inspectors in its dealings with Iraq. As recently as this week, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reaffirmed Washington¹s support for Ekeus, currently Sweden¹s ambassador in Washington. Speaking to reporters at the United Nations on Monday after presiding over a Security Council session on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she said she found it ³mighty ironic² that some nations had opposed Ekeus. She noted that the same countries had ³longed for Ambassador Ekeus² when UNSCOM was headed by his successor, controversial Australian diplomat Richard Butler. Butler resigned last June after two years as UNSCOM¹s executive chairman. LEGACY OF THE GULF WAR UNMOVIC is supposed to complete the scrapping of Iraq¹s biological, chemical and ballistic missile programs, as called for in Security Council resolutions adopted after a U.S.-led coalition expelled invading Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1991. The IAEA is responsible for ensuring Baghdad does not rebuild its clandestine nuclear weapons program. The new arms agency was created under a Dec. 17 council resolution that paves the way for a suspension of U.N. trade sanctions against Iraq if Baghdad complies with arms demands. Eliminating Iraq¹s weapons of mass destruction is a key requirement for lifting the sanctions, in force since Baghdad invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The arms inspectors have been barred from returning to Iraq since leaving in mid-December 1998, shortly before the United States and Britain launched a four-day air campaign called Desert Fox in retaliation for Baghdad¹s failure to cooperate with the U.N. weapons teams. A NUCLEAR INSPECTION A team of IAEA inspectors has just completed the agency¹s first visit to Iraq since 1998. But it was sent to monitor Baghdad¹s compliance with the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which permits the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The IAEA team was not part of the regime established with UNSCOM to hunt down and destroy Iraq¹s weapons of mass destruction. The IAEA experts arrived in Iraq last Friday and their leader, Ahmed Abu Zahra, said on Tuesday they had completed their work and that ³the cooperation was good. http://news.ft.com/ft/gx.cgi/ftc?pagename=View&c=Article&cid=FT39GVB1CIC&liv e=true&tagid=ZZZINS5VA0C&subheading=middle%20east%20and%20africa * WHO PLANS IRAQI URANIUM STUDY by Frances Williams in Geneva Financial Times, 23rd January The World Health Organisation plans to study the health effects of depleted uranium in Iraq following the first formal request by the Iraqi government earlier this month. It has also agreed to an Iraqi request to put concerns over the health effects of DU on the agenda of the WHO's annual assembly next May, a move that seems certain to stoke criticism of the international handling of the DU weapons issue. Iraq and other Arab states have been angered by the contrast between the failure of the United Nations and others to investigate the impact of DU weapons used by the US against Iraq during the Gulf War in 1991, and the rush of activity to investigate their use in Kosovo and Bosnia following fears raised by European governments that this may be linked to the deaths of some Balkan peacekeepers from leukaemia and other cancers. Iraq has blamed armour-piercing DU weapons for an apparent increase in cancers and birth defects in affected areas, especially in the south, and similar problems have been reported by US Gulf War veterans. More than 300 tons of DU were dropped by the allied forces in Iraq, compared with about 12 tons in Kosovo in 1999 and rather less in Bosnia in 1994-95. Samir Ben Yahmed, head of the WHO's Iraq programme, said that deficiencies in the collection and analysis of data on health in Iraq meant it was impossible to say for sure whether there had in reality been an increase in possible DU-linked diseases. Strengthening the reporting and analysis system was thus a WHO priority, but he could not say when the first results would be in. The WHO has already said it doubts that DU weapons could be the cause of leukaemia, a blood cancer, in Balkan peacekeepers. The main risk comes through inhalation or ingestion of radioactive toxic dust following an explosion, which could potentially cause other forms of cancer and damage kidney function. Recent revelations that DU weapons may contain traces of plutonium, which is deadly even in tiny quantities, have sparked yet more anxiety. The UN environment programme is analysing samples of DU weapons taken from sites in Kosovo, the results of which are due for publication in March. However, no such tests have been conducted in Iraq. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/news/2001/jan/24/012400120.html * NUCLEAR INSPECTORS PRAISE IRAQ Las Vegas Sun, 24th January BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- U.N. nuclear experts praised Iraq for cooperating with an inspection completed Wednesday, but refused to say whether they had found any evidence Iraq was restarting banned weapons programs. The visit came as Iraq prepared to sit down with the United Nations to determine whether broader monitoring of its nuclear and other weapons programs could resume, and as the new U.S. administration made clear it will take a hard line on Iraq. Iraq also said Wednesday that it would welcome a U.N. team to work out how to spend $530 million authorized by the United Nations for use in rebuilding the country's ailing oil industry. Under the U.N. oil-for-food program, Iraq can sell its oil but its proceeds, monitored by the United Nations, must go for humanitarian needs and other specific uses. Iraq is under sanctions that can only be lifted once U.N. inspectors confirm it has ended its programs to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Almost all of those inspections have been halted since 1998, when the U.N. inspection team pulled out of Iraq ahead of U.S.-British bombings. It has not been allowed back since. The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, however, has continued its inspections focusing on Iraq's nuclear capabilities. Last year it said in a report that it couldn't be sure that Iraq wasn't rearming. Ahmed Abu Zahra, head of the four-man IAEA team, said that in its latest visit, "everything went well, we found good cooperation from our counterparts in Iraq and from the Iraqi Atomic Energy Organization." But he refused to comment when asked whether the group had found evidence Iraq was rehabilitating its nuclear weapons facilities. Abu Zahra said the team had inspected and measured nuclear material containing low enriched, natural and depleted uranium. He said the data collected would be further analyzed and the results made public later. In talks with the United Nations scheduled to begin Feb. 26, Iraq is hoping to move toward ending the sanctions, while the United Nations will push for the return of weapons inspectors. Iraq has demanded that sanctions be lifted immediately, saying it has rid itself of its weapons of mass destruction. U.S. intelligence reports suggest that Iraq has been rebuilding plants capable of producing chemical or biological weapons -- a claim Iraq denied Tuesday, calling it the "first lie" of the newly-inaugurated administration of President Bush. Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Mohammed Rashid said U.N. experts would arrive in mid-February to discuss plans on boosting Iraq's oil exports with the $530 million authorized by the U.N. Security Council in December. Rashid said Baghdad wants rebuild a pipeline though Syria and build a new one through Jordan. Iraq exports its oil from two terminals approved by the United Nations: the southern terminal of Mina al-Bakr on the Persian Gulf and Turkey's Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean. Iraq has begun work on its side of a pipeline to Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba, but the Jordanians have yet to start building their side of the pipeline. A pipeline through Syria to a Lebanese port on the Mediterranean lays idle. http://www.timesofindia.com/250101/25mide9.htm * IRAQ: UN TECHNICAL TEAM TO VISIT NEXT MONTH Times of India, 25th January BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraq has indicated it will work with UN experts on improving its ailing oil industry, using money earned from the oil-for-food programme. "We are expecting a UN team of technical experts to arrive in mid-February to negotiate with Iraq on how it plans to spend 600 million euros ($ 530 million) approved by the United Nations on local expenses," Oil Minister Amer Mohammed Rashid said in remarks published by the government daily al-Jumhuriya on Tuesday. "Plans are set up to boost Iraqi oil exports by opening new means to export it," he said. "That includes the rehabilitation of the Iraqi-Syrian oil pipeline and the establishment of an Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline." The United Nations has told Iraq in a letter that a seven-member team was ready to travel to Baghdad to discuss how to spend the $ 530 million on upgrading oil facilities. Speaking at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday, spokesman Fred Eckhard said the Office of the Iraq Programme, which sent the letter in January, had not yet received word from Iraq that the team would be welcome. Under the four-year-old UN oil-for-food programme, Iraq is allowed to sell oil, provided the money goes for food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies and equipment to rebuild its oil infrastructure. The programme was launched in 1996 to help Iraqis cope with sweeping UN sanctions imposed to punish the country for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. In December, the UN Security Council extended the programme for six months and asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to make arrangements to let Iraq use up to $530 million in oil for-food money to pay for maintaining and improving the country's oil industry. The council also increased funds for humanitarian programmes. Meanwhile, a report by the Office of the Iraq Program distributed in Baghdad on Wednesday said the UN sanctions Committee has approved oil prices proposed by Iraq, ending a dispute over the issue and charges that Iraq was selling its crude at a discount in order to collect a surcharge from buyers to be deposited in an Iraqi account outside UN supervision. Iraq says it needs the money to meet overhead expenses. The report did not say when the Sanctions Committee approved the prices or specify the prices. Iraq exports its oil from two terminals approved by the United Nations: the southern terminal of Mina al-Bakr on the Gulf and Turkey's Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean. Iraq has two other idle pipelines, one to Lebanon's northern port city of Tripoli and one through Saudi Arabian territory to the Red Sea port of Yanbu. Iraq has begun work on its side of a pipeline to Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba, but the Jordanians have yet to start building their side of the pipeline. Oil will be one of the main issues to be discussed when Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan begins a visit to neighbouring Syria in the next few days. His visit will follow an offer made on Tuesday by the Bush administration to permit Syria to help Iraq export its oil provided the revenue was used under the provisions of the oil-for-food programme. Syria would have to make the request to the UN sanctions committee to designate the 893 km pipeline as an authorised export route under the programme, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. The pipeline runs from Iraq's northern Kirkuk oil fields to the Mediterranean port of Baniyas. According to an account in The Los Angeles Times, the pipeline was opened in mid November and is generating at least $2 million a day in illicit funds for Iraq. Iraq has denied similar accusations in the past, saying the pipeline, closed nearly 20 years ago, has not been fully rehabilitated. While in Syria, Ramadan is due to sign a free-zone agreement similar to one he concluded with Egypt during his visit to Cairo last week. (AP) http://www.timesofindia.com/250101/25mide6.htm * UN, IRAQ READY AID DISTRIBUTION PLAN Times of India, 25th January BAGHDAD: The United Nations and Iraq are preparing a new aid distribution plan for the latest phase of the oil-for-food programme, the UN aid coordinator Tun Myat said on Wednesday. The joint coordination committee, which is co-chaired by the United Nations and the government of Iraq, met Sunday "as part of the ongoing preparations to conclude the distribution plan for phase nine of the humanitarian programme," Tun Myat said. The Iraqi cabinet called the same day on the United Nations to give the green light to Iraqi financial assistance to the Palestinians and to impoverished Americans. Baghdad says it has set aside aid of one billion euros (940 million dollars) for the Palestinians and their uprising against Israel and has also offered 100 million euros ($94 million) to poor US citizens. The United Nations has so far failed to approve the Palestinian aid, but noted that the oil for-food programme was designed to benefit Iraqis only. "So far, there has not been any notification of approval by the Security Council," Tun Myat said on Tuesday. "My understanding is that there has been no agreement because some Security Council members said the original oil-for-food resolution was primarily meant for the benefit of Iraq," he said. The matter had been discussed by the UN sanctions committee and passed on to the Security Council. Iraq, which has been under an embargo since it invaded Kuwait in 1990, is allowed under the oil-for-food programme to export a limited amount of oil in exchange for food and other basic necessities.(AFP) http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=7630 * IRAQ SELLS TO OBSCURE COMPANIES AS EXPORTS REMAIN PATCHY Dubai, Reuters, 23rd January Iraq appears to be enlisting some little-known companies to boost United Nations supervised oil sales towards its two million barrels per day (bpd) export target, industry sources said yesterday. Still absent from the Iraqi contract roster are major European oil companies which have lifted oil directly from Baghdad since the UN oil-for-food deal began in late 1996. Baghdad's export flows have been patchy since December after Iraq asked customers to make a cash payment outside the United Nations escrow account, industry sources said. Iraqi oil sales had been running at about 2.3 million bpd in late November. While some customers claim Baghdad has eased its payment condition, others insist Iraq is still sticking to demand for an unauthorised surcharge demand of about 40 cents a barrel. Iraqi oil officals said last week that Baghdad had lined up enough customers to push loadings considerably beyond recent levels of about one million bpd by the end of this month. Industry sources said Iraq may meet its target, but some market players - pointing to still-sketchy liftings of Kirkuk grade - regarded the two million bpd level as wishful thinking. Iraqi Kirkuk exports finally have started rolling for the first time this year from the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, with the Super Lady due to sail yesterday. Two other tankers - the Amazon Falcon and the Sea Dancer - were sighted in the area, industry sources said. The Basrah Light programme at the Iraqi Gulf port of Mina Al Bakr was more fleshed out, with flows there expected to be steady at roughly one milion bpd, market sources said. Meanwhile, Vietnam is holding talks with Iraq's Oil Ministry to buy Iraqi crude oil under an oil-for-food deal with United Nations, an Iraqi oil industry source said yesterday. "A team of Vietnamese oil experts from (state oil company) Petrovietnam are negotiating with the Iraqi oil ministry to lift more Iraqi oil under the MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the United Nations," the source told Reuters. The source did not say how much oil Vietnam wanted to lift under the current phase nine of the oil deal. He said Vietnam had lifted a total of 15 million barrels of Basrah Light during the previous phase eight of the oil pact which allows Iraq to sell unlimited quantities of oil over six months to buy food and medicine for the Iraqi people. The Vietnamese experts are part of a big trade delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Cong Tan which arrived in Baghdad on Friday. Nguyen delivered a letter from President Tran Duc Luong to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during a meeting on Saturday. Vietnam's oil company Petrovietnam is also tipped to sign a deal with Iraq to develop the Ammara oilfield with a projected capacity of 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) and at a total cost of $300 million. Iraq maintains good commercial links with Vietnam and trading between the two states is being done under the oil-for-food deal with United Nations. http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/01/24/iraq.un.oil.reut/index.html * UN NOT PURSUING ILLEGAL OIL SURCHARGES PAID TO IRAQ CNN, January 24, 2001 NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuters) -- The United Nations has found itself unable to pursue oil firms paying illegal surcharges for Iraqi crude, saying investigations of alleged sanctions violators are up to individual governments. "Compliance is expected from the buyers," a U.N. official said on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. "If there is a violation -- if it's among the oil buyers -- it's up to their governments to take action." This leaves open the possibility that any oil firm paying Iraq's under-the-table oil surcharge could get away with it, according to industry analysts. "Paying a surcharge is hard to prove, particularly when Iraq is dealing with sort of smaller, lesser known traders who come from countries that don't see eye-to-eye with the United States on sanctions," said Raad Alkadiri said of the Petroleum Finance Co. in Washington. Iraq's U.N.-sponsored oil sales are now picking up again after disruptions since December 1, when customers balked at buying oil after Baghdad asked for a 50-cent-per-barrel surcharge payment outside U.N. control. Iraq has enlisted a number of little-known companies to boost oil sales toward its two million barrels per day export target, fueling debate in international oil markets whether any are paying the surcharge. Companies buying Iraqi crude have denied paying up, but even if there were under-the-table payments, the lifters could easily escape punishment. And if a violation does surface, it is debatable whether a divided U.N. Security Council would act. While the United States, along with Britain, is the staunchest supporter of Iraqi sanctions, France, Russia and China favor a softer line. "It depends on the violation," Alkadiri said. "There are clearly differences among the (Security Council members) on what constitutes violations and how serious those violations are. That makes it difficult to envisage concerted action against sanctions busters, including Iraq." The most likely penalty, suggested a European diplomat, for any company punished for breaking sanctions was revoking or suspending its right to buy Iraqi crude. International oil majors BP Amoco Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp., which have recently purchased Iraqi crude using trading houses as middlemen, say that third-party suppliers have not paid Iraq's surcharge. Authorities in their own countries have been kept fully informed, the oil companies add. Iraq's resumption late last year of oil exports to Syria, in violation of U.N. sanctions, has highlighted the problem to control oil flows. The United States says it is still investigating reports that Syria has been selling crude on behalf of Iraq via the pipeline between the two countries since November, despite reports from oil analysts on increased Syrian oil exports. Both Britain and the United States have tried to raise the issue in the council's committee monitoring Iraqi sanctions. But France and others have said the controversy needed to be discussed in light of smuggling in general, including lines of Iraqi tankers traveling to Jordan and Turkey. Iraq, under a December 1999 council resolution, is permitted to open a pipeline to Syria, providing it or Damascus applies officially and does so under U.N. oversight. Washington has said it would support a request by Syria. Under the U.N.'s oil-for-food humanitarian program, Baghdad is allowed to sell unlimited quantities of oil under U.N. supervision in exchange for food, medicine and many other supplies, including oil equipment. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=7722 * U.S. FIRMS PLAY KEY ROLE IN IRAQ EXPORT REVIVAL Dubai, Reuters, 24th January U.S. oil companies are playing a leading role in Iraq's oil export revival despite Washington's entrenched hardline stance towards Baghdad, industry sources said yesterday. "It's astounding. Washington is making the loudest noise over Iraq and yet the U.S. remains the principal destination for Iraqi barrels," said an oil executive. "And most European oil majors whose governments have the most liberal attitude towards Iraq are refusing to touch the stuff." Iraq's United Nations-sponsored oil sales have been patchy since December, when customers balked at lifting oil after Baghdad asked for a 50 cent per barrel surcharge payment outside UN control. But Baghdad has now secured enough lifters to double exports to about two million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of this month, with most of that oil destined for the United States, market sources said. Iraq barred U.S. firms from lifting its barrels directly in 1997, but American companies at the end of last year were importing some 750,000 bpd, using oil trading houses as intermediaries, a practice that is legal. U.S. imports are climbing towards that mark again as major oil companies - including super majors ExxonMobil and BP - insist that their third party suppliers have escaped Iraq's surcharge payment, industry sources said. "We have got assurances from the seller that there were no surcharges paid," a BP spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday. "We've kept both the UN and the DTI (Britain's Department of Trade and Industry) here informed exactly of what we've been doing." Market sources say BP has purchased two cargoes of Basrah Light crude destined for the United States. A recently sold shipment of Kirkuk crude, typically sold in the Mediterranean market, is also rumoured to be heading west. Another buyer said his company had examined the supplier's original contract and was dealing with companies with proven track records. "Anyone lifting Iraqi oil has carried out thorough checks to ensure that the supplier has not paid any cash into an Iraqi account," said an oil executive. "And it is our belief that some oil is being made available with no surcharge attached." The decision by Exxon Mobil, renowned for its conservative approach to business, to lift Iraqi barrels starting in late December may have encouraged other majors to make the leap, industry sources said. "Maybe they (Exxon Mobil) feel it is a pretty low risk move," said a market source. "I'm sure they've put their top lawyers onto it." At least three other U.S. companies are also said to have purchased Iraqi Basrah Light barrels indirectly through suppliers, industry sources said. Exxon Mobil declined comment, saying only that its purchases of Iraqi crude have always been transparent and fully documented. Other U.S. firms had no initial comment. But some other oil majors remain loath to buy Iraqi crude. "We still are not comfortable taking Iraqi barrels, no matter what evidence is provided that a fee is not being paid," said an end-user that has been a regular buyer of Iraqi crude. "The word from Baghdad is that they are sticking with the surcharge demand." The going rate for Basrah Light had been a 50-60 cent premium over the official selling price (OSP) - which had given some purchasers a pause as it was theoretically wide enough to allow the lifter to pay a surcharge and still show a profit. "That leads us to believe that a surcharge was still involved," said an industry source. Others counter that the premium being charged in the market for Iraqi oil has primarily ranged between 15-60 cents over the OSP since the start of the U.N. oil-for-food deal in late 1996. And purchasers' attitudes could soften if the asking price is lowered, as it was for Kirkuk crude into Europe. Earlier this month, offers on Kirkuk at 50-60 cents over the OSP were shunned by potential buyers. But once those offers slid to OSP +25/30 cents, buyers stepped up. For their part, many European oil majors say Baghdad has not dropped its demand for a surcharge payment, but some said that the request has been softened to 25-cents per barrel for Kirkuk grade, which heads primarily into Europe. "Regardless of how much the surcharge is reduced, there is still a small matter called principle," said a European industry executive. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=7879 * POOR REFINING MARGINS OBSTACLE TO IRAQ CRUDE SALES London, Reuters, 26th January Iraq may be able to manoeuvre around United Nations restrictions to boost oil revenues but faces an even tougher hurdle to the market - dismal refining margins. Loss-making profit margins are denting demand for Iraq's key Kirkuk crude in the Mediterranean market just as it moves to revive exports, patchy since December when customers refused to pay Baghdad a surcharge in violation of UN sanctions. Some European oil majors now seem prepared to buy Iraqi crude from oil trading houses as long as they are assured that no illegal surcharge payments have been made. But the crude has proved tough to sell on the spot market, industry sources said. Mediterranean refining margins have swung into a loss of 83 cents a barrel, compared to an average $3.58 profit over the last year, Reuters data shows. Russian Urals, currently selling at $1.20-$1.25 a barrel under dated Brent cif Augusta, is posing a strong challenge to Kirkuk which has an official selling price of Dated Brent -$3.00 a barrel. Traders assess spot Kirkuk at around 15 to 30 cents over the OSP. "Margins are going to be quite depressed. At the end of day, with Urals where it is, I can't see Kirkuk competing at these current levels," said one refinery buyer. "If Urals falls further, nobody will even touch Kirkuk. I expect Urals to fall in value over the next few days due to poor refining margins." But market players are well aware that market maverick Iraq has a number of options up its sleeve to lure in more buyers. Baghdad could ask the United Nations to lower the official price of Kirkuk price as it has done before. "If the Kirkuk price is cut, then the whole market equilibrium changes," said a trader from European major. Iraq also is eyeing a fuel-hungry U.S. market to ship oil it cannot flog in the Mediterranean. Traders said at least one very-large-crude-carrier (VLCC) was sold into the U.S. market while a Mediterranean trading firm was seeking offers for another VLCC of Kirkuk. Kirkuk, which does not regularly appear in the U.S. market, failed to secure buyers in the Mediterranean, traders said. Iraq, which has been looking to little-known trading companies from countries like Malaysia and Namibia to boost its exports, hopes European firms will become customers despite the sensitive surcharge issue. But some companies remain nervous as Iraq moves to boost oil sales back up to two million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of January after they slumped below one million bpd. "We don't want it to appear in the papers that we are helping the regime of Saddam Hussein do what it wants to do. It all depends on whether my lawyer is comfortable," a trader said. "The Iraqis are selling to unknown companies. It gets to the end users eventually but they are not securing any big customers right now." http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,426691,00.html * PRESSURE ON IRAQ OVER 'NEW WEAPONS' by Ewen MacAskill and Brian Whitaker Guardian, January 23, 2001 The Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, has rebuilt three factories which are now capable of producing chemical weapons, the US and Britain claimed yesterday. The disclosure is intended to step up pressure on Baghdad and signals a new hard line as George Bush begins his presidency. The US and Britain are trying to shore up efforts to contain President Saddam after the steady demolition of their trade embargo by Arab and European states. Similar intelligence reports formed the basis for the Desert Fox bombing raid by the US and Britain two years ago. Foreign Office diplomats have been in Washington in the last week discussing Iraq and other foreign policy issues with the new administration. An FO spokesman said: "The general assessment that Iraq may be reconstituting biological and chemical weapons is one we share." But the Foreign Office and US state department were careful to avoid saying they had proof, as this would automatically trigger new air raids. The claim comes just 10 days after the Pentagon made public an intelligence assessment of the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons worldwide. Its report said Iraq "shows no let-up in its pursuit to reconstitute its pre-war weapons and missile capabilities". According to the new reports, one rebuilt factory is using a mash made from castor beans that contains a deadly biological toxin called ricin. The Iraqis claim the castor oil is used for brake fluid. Another produces chlorine, which is used for nuclear production and for cleaning water. George Galloway, the Labour MP who has been leading the British campaign to have sanctions against Iraq lifted, said yesterday: "There is a long campaign of misinformation about the purpose of factories as a prelude for US attacks." He described the latest reports as propaganda "to justify the increasingly unjustified siege of Iraq". The US and the Foreign Office stressed that the reports were from officials in the old administration and should not necessarily be taken as an insight into Mr Bush's approach. The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, is planning to meet Iraqi ministers next month to discuss lifting sanctions in return for allowing in UN weapons inspectors. Although the UN weapons team, Unscom, has not been allowed into Iraq since December 1998, the International Atomic Energy Agency, a nuclear proliferation watchdog, has been allowed to continue with less intrusive inspections. The IAEA is this week carrying out its annual inspection of nuclear material in Iraq. Four inspectors - from Egypt, Poland, Russia and South Africa - are visiting the Tuwaitha nuclear centre, 12 miles south of Baghdad, to check that low-grade material, sealed in 1998, has not been touched. The centre was the main site for Iraq's nuclear programme before the Gulf war and is the location of the Osiraq reactor, bombed by Israel in 1981. David Kidd, the IAEA's spokesman in Vienna, said the inspectors were carrying out tests to determine the quantity and quality of material stored. "It's a thorough check, but no replacement for what the [UN] security council would like to have us do," he said. Several Iraqi defectors have claimed that President Saddam is continuing to develop a bomb. Salman Yassin Zweir, an engineer who was said to have spent 13 years working for the Iraqi atomic energy commission, said recently that work resumed in secret in August 1998. The American estimate is that it would take Baghdad at least five years to build nuclear weapons. http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/01/24/iraq.usa.reut/index.html * IRAQ DISMISSES N.Y.TIMES REPORT ON ARMS AS GROUNDLESS CNN, January 24, 2001 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- Iraq Wednesday dismissed as groundless a New York Times report that the country was still capable of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. "Iraq does not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have any capability to manufacture them," the official news agency INA quoted Husam Muhammed Ameen, the director-general of the National Monitoring Department, as saying. "The defunct (U.N) special commission knows this fact very well because it supervised the destruction of the equipment and buildings which had escaped destruction during the 30 state aggression," Ameen said, referring to the 1991 U.S.-led Gulf War to oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait. "The commission also knows that Iraq has met all the requirements of destruction including unjust ones and sacrificed many of the buildings and equipment for which there was no scientific or technical justification for destroying them," he said. Iraq was responding to a New York Times report Sunday that Iraq had rebuilt three factories in an industrial complex west of Baghdad that had been closely monitored by U.N. weapons inspectors on suspicion of producing chemical and biological agents. The newspaper said the factories were plants manufacturing products for civilian use, but also capable of producing vital compounds and toxins for weapons. Ameen said the installations that the Times referred to were of a civilian nature without the capacity to carry out chemical and biological activities. "It has become clear that installations which they are trying to portray as factories of weapons of mass destruction are in fact civilian installations that produce chloride for water treatment and agricultural pesticides," he said. Ameen added that the "allegations and claims they are trying to circulate lack hard evidence and are no more than a fabricated suspicion based on flimsy probabilities." "The allegations ... reflect frustration and bankruptcy suffered by some American departments," he said. http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=000579381554028&rtmo=3SunmY8M&atmo=99999 999&pg=/et/01/1/24/wirq24.html * LONDON AND WASHINGTON FEAR REVIVAL OF SADDAM by Anton La Guardia in Baghdad and Ben Fenton in Washington Daily Telegraph, 24th January THE Foreign Office said yesterday that it shared American fears that Saddam Hussein has rebuilt factories capable of producing chemical weapons. The claim came amid signs that the new US administration is considering a tougher policy towards Baghdad. With Baghdad scoring almost daily successes against its international isolation, President Bush is coming under pressure to deal with Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and fulfil his campaign promise to "take 'em out". Mr Bush has been presented with intelligence evidence that Saddam has rebuilt factories which could already be producing chemical and biological weapons. Richard Perle, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and assistant secretary of state for defence under Ronald Reagan, said yesterday that he believed the Bush administration would seek to support Iraqi opposition groups. He said: "We are simply losing this now. If you saw the parade marking the anniversary of the end of the Gulf war, Saddam had a thousand tanks going through Baghdad. When the war ended, he had 300. Sanctions have collapsed and are a failed policy. We need to get the Iraqi opposition back into northern Iraq, where they can be effective in providing an alternative to Saddam." A diplomatic source in Washington agreed that the Bush administration, which in Vice President Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, has two of the men who defeated Saddam in 1991, would look for a radical approach in dealing with Iraq. American intelligence reports, confirmed by Britain, say Iraq has repaired "dual-use" factories bombed by the US air force and the RAF in 1998 after United Nations inspectors pulled out of Iraq. But they stopped short of saying that Saddam has acquired new weapons of mass destruction. Baghdad has so far ignored the American claims, preferring to rebuild its political and economic ties in the region and erode the 10-year-old international sanctions. Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan is expected to visit Damascus this week to conclude a free-trade agreement similar to one reached with Egypt recently. Egypt and Syria were key members of the US-led alliance against Iraq, providing vital Arab political cover to the American-led campaign to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait. But Arab countries are drawing closer to Baghdad, pushed by a popular feeling that sanctions have gone on long enough and attracted by Iraq's growing economic power as a result of high oil prices. Iraq has become one of Egypt's biggest export markets, while Syria stands to make good profits by importing cheap Iraqi oil through a 552-mile pipeline that is being refurbished. Last week Turkey, a close American ally long involved in smuggling goods to Iraq, upgraded its relations with Baghdad by appointing an ambassador despite protests from Washington. Several Western countries, especially France, have re-appointed diplomats to head high powered "interests sections" in Baghdad. http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/01/21/iraq.syria.reut/index.html * IRAQ TO SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH SYRIA CNN, January 21, 2001 BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) -- Iraq will soon sign a free trade agreement with Syria similar to that signed with Egypt last week, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said on Sunday. "We are going to sign a similar agreement with the Syrian leadership," Aziz told reporters. Iraq, still under U.N. sanctions for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, signed a free trade agreement with Egypt on Thursday during a rare visit to Cairo by Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan. The agreement, which needs to be ratified by Egypt's parliament, was expected to boost Egyptian exports to Iraq to $1 billion a year. Aziz did not say whether he or other Iraqi official would travel to Syria to sign the agreement or if Syrian officials would come to Baghdad. 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 Kuwait in 1991. But the two countries reopened their borders and started economic cooperation nearly three years ago within the framework of Iraq's oil-for-food program with the United Nations. Earlier this month Syria removed restrictions on its citizens travelling to Iraq, the latest sign that ties between the two neighbours are improving after nearly two decades of animosity. Baghdad and Damascus also want to reopen an oil pipeline between them, disused since 1982. 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.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2001/01/21/stifgnmid01002.html * POPE DEFIES WEST WITH IRAQ VISIT Sunday Times, 21st January THE Pope plans to visit Iraq by the summer despite opposition from Britain and the United States, which fear he will hand a propaganda coup to Saddam Hussein, writes John Follain. Last week Vatican sources said a team would soon begin preparing Pope John Paul II's pilgrimage to the birthplace of the prophet Abraham in the ancient town of Ur, near the southern city of Basra. The visit was called off a year ago, when Baghdad said "abnormal conditions" made it impossible. Iraq blamed the United Nations embargo and British and American air attacks, but there was also resistance within Saddam's regime to the visit. That resistance has weakened in recent months as Iraq has attracted some international support for an end to sanctions. Officials in Baghdad are thought to accept that the Pope's presence could help their case against the embargo. A British diplomatic source said airstrikes in southern Iraq's no-fly zone would be suspended for a papal visit to Ur, but warned that any meeting with Saddam would be manipulated by the dictator. "The visit is completely inappropriate because Saddam is sure to exploit it politically," said the source. Last week the 80-year-old Pope, who condemned the 1991 Gulf war and has criticised subsequent UN sanctions, named a new nuncio, or papal envoy, to Baghdad. In a sign of warming relations with Iraq, he also approved the election of four bishops of the Chaldean Catholic community in the capital. He is expected to fly to Baghdad and travel from there by helicopter to Ur. The Pope originally meant to visit Iraq, where 1m in a population of 17m are Christians, as part of "an exclusively religious" millennium pilgrimage to the Bible lands. Although Vatican officials insist there is no guarantee that the Pope would meet Saddam in Iraq, protocol dictates that he should do so - and he has rarely visited a country without meeting its head of state. http://www.timesofindia.com/220101/22mide8.htm * IRAQ, SYRIA TO INVITE TURKEY TO WATER-SHARING MEETING IN BAGHDAD Times of India, 22nd January BAGHDAD: Iraq and Syria are to hold a meeting in Baghdad next week on an arrangement to share the waters of the Euphrates River, to which Turkey is also invited, an official newspaper reported on Sunday. Irrigation Minister Mahmud Diab al-Ahmad, quoted by Al-Ittihad newspaper, said the meeting would take place during a visit by his Syrian counterpart Taha al-Atrash, who is expected in Baghdad on January 27. "Turkey will also be invited to take part," Ahmad said, while noting however that Ankara had in the past boycotted such meetings. The Iraqi minister already said last month that Baghdad and Damascus had reached an agreement that he was to finalise with Atrash. But efforts to reach a three-way deal with Turkey, where the Euphrates originates, were not making headway because of Ankara's "intransigence," the Iraqi minister said. Ankara rejects charges from Baghdad and Damascus that it is monopolising the Euphrates and Tigris by building more than 20 dams. Both rivers rise in Turkish mountains and join together in southern Iraq before flowing into the Gulf. (AFP) http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_183023.html * IRAQI ASYLUM SEEKERS TREBLE IN A YEAR Avanova, 23rd January The number of asylum-seekers from Iraq more than trebled last year, Amnesty International says. Amnesty figures - based on Home Office statistics - show there are more asylum applications from Iraq than from any other country. But people fleeing Saddam Hussein's regime are not always given a sympathetic welcome by the Government, the human rights group says. The number has increased from 1,800 in 1999 to 6,410 from January to November 2000. The Home Office has declined to comment ahead of the publication of official figures on asylum-seekers for 2000, due on Thursday. Amnesty suggests that the Government's tough stance might be partly responsible for the surge in asylum applications. "Although the majority of Iraqi asylum-seekers in 2000 were given permission to stay in the UK, the Home Office has been turning down many recent applications without even considering them as they fail to meet bureaucratic criteria," a spokesman for Amnesty says. The spokesman says Britain has made "great play" of the persecution of Iraqi civilians, adding: "You have to wonder if the very strong position the Government has taken has contributed to these statistics." http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,426697,00.html * BAGHDAD SETTLES WAR SCORES ON CELLULOID by Jason Burke in Baghdad Guadrian [SIC. Good to see old traditions are being maintained on the Net PB], 23rd January It is winter in the Iraqi capital and the film halls are packed. With President Saddam Hussein's regime in its 22nd year, and more than a decade since the start of the trade embargo, there is a need for escapist entertainment. The latest film to capture the public imagination is a movie by Abdul Salam al-Adhami, one of Iraq's most famous directors and actors, which is due for release this week. It is an epic about the Gulf war, one of a series of full-length feature films that the government has prepared for the 10th anniversary of the "Um al-Mar'rik" (Mother of All Battles), as the war to expel Iraq from Kuwait is known. Mr al-Adhami's film, which was shot in the desert using Iraqi soldiers as extras, tells the story of a unit of conscripts from Baghdad who are buried alive by allied troops during an attack by the US-led forces. "This is one of the most horrible war crimes of our time and it was carried out by American troops," he said. He added that he was inspired by a CNN documentary in which American soldiers admitted bulldozing trenches full of surrendering soldiers during the rapid advance into Kuwait. The film, called Hafr al-Batm after the area of desert where the massacre is alleged to have occurred, starts with a local bedouin who, after noticing how vultures gather over a certain patch of sand, investigates and unearths remains. The movie also shows British soldiers shooting dead Iraqi prisoners of war. Mr al-Adhami said his film is aimed at a global audience. "The Americans always say that they are defending human rights and international law and norms. In my film we see that they are the first people to break those laws." Such rhetoric is commonplace in Iraq. Another government-sponsored film under production gives Baghdad's version of the story of the Bravo Two Zero SAS patrol. The writers of the screenplay have seen a pirated copy of the British film of Andy McNab's book and have interviewed Iraqi soldiers who were captured by the British special forces. The hero is an NCO called Adnan who is taken prisoner. He is shown being mistreated by British soldiers. A third film is based on the "turkey shoot" on the road to Basra at the end of the conflict, when thousands of Iraqis fleeing Kuwait were bombed and killed by allied warplanes. Baghdad is undergoing a cultural renaissance. At the al-Rasheed national theatre last week an avant-garde psychological thriller - again based on the war and funded by the government - premiered. A year ago President Saddam decided that the mostly light-hearted farce that had comprised new Iraqi theatre since sanctions were imposed in 1990 undermined the nation's dignity, and ordered weightier productions to be commissioned. Drama is not the only thing changing in Baghdad. There has been a surge of economic development. Trade fairs in the city are packed by foreign firms. Overseas diplomats and businessmen throng the lobbies of five-star hotels, and the newly reopened Saddam airport is busy with flights from throughout the Middle East - all banned by UN sanctions. Meanwhile, Mr al-Adhami's Gulf war film seems set to be a hit. Like many Iraqis, he seems convinced that the Mother of All Battles resulted in victory for Baghdad. "My film will set the record straight," he said. "I am proud to have been born here in the heart of the Arab homeland. Now it is time to tell the story of how we won the struggle." http://126.96.36.199/english/htm/20010124/332780.htm * IRAQ PROTESTS OVER WORLD CUP QUALIFIER VENUE CHANGE BAGHDAD, January 24 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraq sent a letter of protest to FIFA after being told they must play all their World Cup soccer preliminary matches in Kazakhstan. Worrying that the venue change will give Kazakhstan home advantage, the Iraqi Football Association has called on FIFA to overturn the decision. The group six which includes Nepal, Macau, Kazakhstan and Iraq was initially due to be held over five days in Kathmandu between March 25 and 29. But Iraq said they had been informed by the Asian Football Confederation on January 19 that the ties would now take place in Kazakhstan between April 21 and 25. Iraq and Kazakhstan will be the top two favorites in the group. Iraqi official Hussein Mohammed said in a letter to FIFA general-secretary Michael Zen Ruffinen that AFC had informed them FIFA was responsible for the venue switch, but neither body was immediately available for comment. Iraqi officials asked for the matches to be played on a home- and away basis or for the games to be played in a neutral venue, Jordan. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/bw-exec/2001/jan/24/012400516.html * RENO LIFTED RESTRICTIONS ON IRAQIS Las Vegas Sun, 24th January LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- In one of her final acts in office, Attorney General Janet Reno lifted restrictions on travel and employment against five former Iraqi military officers who were thought to be a threat to U.S. security. The men took part in a CIA effort to overthrow Saddam Hussein and were among 6,500 Iraqi dissidents brought to the United States after the Persian Gulf War. But after arriving in California in 1997, the five were jailed for 2 1/2 years by the Immigration and Naturalization Service on suspicion of being double agents for Saddam. They were eventually released and allowed to settle in Lincoln with their families. But they were not allowed to travel outside their county and had to stay home at night and maintain daily contact with the INS. They also had to get approval for employment and could be deported to a third country with two weeks' notice. In Washington, INS spokesman Russ Bergeron said Reno decided last Friday to relax the restrictions. The men's lawyer, Niels Frenzen, said that the former officers can now travel anywhere in the United States and do not need INS approval for employment. The deportation provision is still in effect, he said. A sixth Iraqi man who also worked to overthrow Hussein remains under the previous restrictions in Lincoln, Frenzen said. Reno did not indicate why, he said. http://www.chartattack.com/damn/2001/01/2301.cfm * CHANTAL KREVIAZUK OFFERS PEACE AND HOPE IN IRAQ Chart Attack, Tuesday January 23, 2001 If anyone is trying to get in touch with Chart Magazine's current Stylin' model you may have to leave a message. Chantal Kreviazuk is currently in Iraq working on a documentary entitled War2Music. She's in the Middle East with her tag-along husband Raine Maida, who is taking time out from his little dispute with Matthew Good to join her in making the documentary. The movie is being made to support kids living in war torn areas such as the Middle East, Thailand and Africa. The War2Music project connects artists such Kreviazuk along with fellow Canadians the Rascalz and Moist frontman David Usher, with youth in a peace-building effort to help people who are affected by war around the world. You can catch Chantal on the tube and on the Net. The War2Child flick is being aired on MuchMusic some time in the near future. You can also catch a simultaneous webcast of the program on the www.war2music.com website. The newly weds recently returned to Baghdad after visiting the supposed site of the Garden of Eden. "I am amazed by the ability of humans to connect deeply on the most basic of levels," Chantal said in her diary entry for today on the website. "After spending some time in the alleged Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life ain't looking so good! The only verbal exchange I had was with four beautiful little girls, we shared our names. They called me Shanshoa. It's overwhelming to me." You can get regular updates through Kreviazuk's journal on the website or through the official Chantal Kreviazuk website. [URL not given but a search might do the trick PB] http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/05011437.htm * EGYPT CAUTIOUS OVER IRAQI FLIGHT REQUEST Athens, Jan 24, IRNA -- Egypt is still not planning to make a positive response to a long standing Iraqi request to re-operate commercial flights between Cairo and Baghdad. "It is still early to decide on this matter," an Egyptian diplomatic source told Egyptian English-language newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly. Egypt, which has just signed a free trade agreement with Iraq earlier this week, appears to be apprehensive. The political implications of such move in and out of the Arab world are still being carefully weighed. "What Egypt is mostly interested in is to restore Iraq to the Arab fold where it rightly belongs. Any moves are weighed against this objective," a senior diplomatic source in Cairo told the Weekly. With this objective in mind, Egypt has expressed concern over provocative statements that were made in Baghdad against Kuwait earlier this month by senior Iraqi political figures. Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa has pleaded with Iraq to avoid antagonising its Arab neighbours. "We think it is in the interest of Arabs to look ahead and turn a new page. Therefore, nobody needs to rub old wounds at this time when there are intensive efforts to restore Arab unity, '' said Moussa. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010126/2001012608.html * TURKEY AND IRAQ FOR DEVELOPING TRADE AND ECONOMIC RELATIONS Arabic News, 26th January The executive committee of the foreign relations in Turkey has appointed Muhammad Ali Neizi as the chairman of the Turkish side at the Turkish - Iraqi joint labor council with the aim of developing economic and trade relations between the two countries. Meantime, Turkish sources said that the Turkish third products exhibition will be held in Baghdad in May and includes textile and food products and building materials and machinery. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk