The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
NEWS, 25-31/3/01 (1) A lot of articles this week on the Arab League summit, with necessarily a lot of repetition but they each of them seem to bring something different to a still not very complete picture. ARAB SUMMIT * Arab leaders meet next week to bolster economies * Arab group fails to get Iraq, Kuwait to compromise * Arabs Slowly Overcoming Some Issues [a list if issues under discussion other than Israel and sanctions on Iraq] * Arab leaders stress need to close Iraq - Kuwait file; support uprising [includes a list of who spoke, though not much about what they said] * Chronology of Arab summits [a list of Arab League summits since 1946 with a brief account of the circumstances of each of them] * Hussein condemns Jews; Arabs divided on Iraq * Saudi Arabia will not permit its land to be used for military acts against Iraq [says Saud al-Faisal. Does this mean it can¹t be used for policing the no fly zones?] * King Abdullah to follow up on Iraq-Kuwait row * Text of draft resolution [on Iraq-Kuwait confrontation at Arab summit. This appears to be the pro-Kuwaiti text which everyone approved except Iraq. It implies conditions on the lifting of sanctions. There seems also to have been a pro-Iraqi one which everyone approved except Kuwait] * An Iraq-Kuwait Accord Eludes Arabs at Summit * Excerpts from communique [from Arab summit. All to do with Israel and Libya] * Arabs united on Israel, divided on Iraq [an Israeli analysis from Ha¹aretz] * Arab summit outcome disappointing for Iraq * Amman Declaration [apparently agreed by everyone. It calls for the lifting of sanctions on Iraq] GENERAL MIDDLE EASTERN-IRAQI RELATIONS * UAE says UN must overhaul its approach to global developments [Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan calls for the ending of all sanctions on everyone] * Diplomat: Iran's Ties With Regional States in Good Status [on Iran-Kuwait relations. Iran is proposing to supply Kuwait with water] * Morocco, Iraq hold 9th session of joint commission [a very considerable effort seems to be going into promoting Iraqi-Moroccan trade] * Turks, Kurds Violate Iraq Oil Embargo -- With U.S. Blessing [some US journalist seems briefly to have woken up] * Izzat Ibrahim, al-Sahaf extend their stay in Amman * UN presses Iraq over prisoners of war SENT SEPARATELY AS NEWS, 25-31/3/01 (2) GENERAL INTERNATIONAL-IRAQI RELATIONS * Iraqi [health] minister arrives [in Pakistan. We learn that local pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan had reached a stage where they were capable of manufacturing medicines of international quality, and compete with multinational companies based in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asian Republics, in exports.¹ This presumably means they are due a visit soon from the US Air Force] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * Iraq hits out at UK, US proposals [to police the companies whp are buying Iraqi oil to prevent the payment of the surcharge] * Kurds: Saddam pressures UN for support [a question as to whether the UN work should be administered by Arabs/Iraqi or by others whom the Iraqis characterise as spies] * Mix of Uses Tangles Sanctions [on difficulties of determining dual use¹] US POLICY TOWARDS IRAQ * US moots changes in sanctions package for Iraq * Powell, Vedrine Hold Talks on Iraq Sanctions * White House Defends Iraq Sanctions [this article refers to an Arab League communique that demanded lifting all curbs on exports OF WEAPONS [my emphasis - PB] and technology to Iraq¹. Note that in this article, Richard Boucher is accusing the Arab leaders of being liars, supporting the US privately despite their public pronouncements. Which are only made to satisfy the - by implication, ignorant -Arab people. So much for the US commitment to Arab democracy] * Firing blanks at the Iraqi military [debate in the US military on the no fly zones] * The realists clean up [the New York Post rejoices that the big softy Colin Powell is being edged out by the hard men, Cheney and Rumsfield. Has anyone noted the reversal of roles since the last adminitration, when the Pentagon seemed to be the more internationalist, moderate¹ element and the State department the more gung-ho?] COLLATERAL DAMAGE * 'A Great Deal Of Arrogance' [on the US military¹s reluctance to have its accidents seriously examined] * Pentagon Cites Gulf War Gas Danger [a possibility that some US soldiers might have been exposed when a chemical weapons depot was blown up. No concern expressed for anyone else who might have been in the area] * The depleted uranium: A slow, silent killer * U.S. Warplane Attacks Iraqi Site [not quite collateral damage¹ but the article also tells us about 8 children blown up by an unexploded missile left over from the Guilf War near the border with Kuwait] NEW WORLD ORDER * GOP Core Wants Bush to Intervene in Sudan War * Washington studies possibility of an ambassador to Khartoum; oil reserve second largest in region [this might prove to be important ...] * War Could Litter Space with Debris - U.S. General * Creating a market for Star Wars URL ONLY http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,462960,00.html * Moscow doesn't matter any more. And neither do we by Peter Preston The Guardian, 26th March Article arguing that the Bush administration no longer take Russia seriously as a threat and consequently attach little importance to Europe. Their attention is focussed on China. CHILDREN¹S CORNER [two articles of mindnumbing triviality which are only included for reasons of patriotic sentiment] * Cook defends Britain's 'ethical' foreign policy * This means war [The Guardian¹s typically frivolous reaction to the US refusal to abide by the terms of the Kyoto agreement. A joke about sanctions. Sanctions are not very funny] ARAB SUMMIT http://www.dailystarnews.com/200103/25/n1032505.htm#BODY5 * ARAB LEADERS MEET NEXT WEEK TO BOLSTER ECONOMIES Daily Star, Bangla Desh, 25th March REUTERS, Amman: Arab leaders will try next week to breathe life into grandiose plans for economic integration scuppered in the past by political rivalries, officials said Friday. Besides a political agenda crammed with contentious issues, the March 27-28 summit in Amman will review practical moves to bolster inter-Arab trade at the turn of a new millennium where future prosperity is challenged by globalisation. Economy, trade and finance ministers of the 22-member Arab League's Economic Council started talks on Friday night to put the final touches on the economic plans. "Arabs must arrive at resolutions that are capable of implementation to give a push to hopes of economic integration," Esmat Abdel Meguid, the Arab League's Secretary General, told ministers in opening remarks. The league's foreign ministers will meet on Saturday and Sunday to finalise the political agenda for the summit, expected to focus on Middle East peace and Iraq. Officials say Arab governments with differing political systems are acutely aware that social stability hinges on raising incomes of rapidly growing populations, a majority of whom are in abject poverty. An era of globalism where entry barriers to local markets are crumbling leaves them exposed to the vagaries of a free-market driven world economy. But the fact that the success of any economic drive depends on full political backing is not lost on Arab governments. "Arab states have begun modest steps toward Arab economic integration and the matter requires real Arab political will to allow success," Egyptian Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali said. The ministers have drafted an agenda to strengthen institutions such as the Arab Monetary Fund and Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. They have also focused on speedier dismantling of customs barriers also focused on speedier dismantling of customs barriers along with unifying specifications to help lay the basis for an eventual Arab common market. The agenda includes open space accords for airlines, encouraging investments and linkage between financial markets. They will review progress on mega-infrastructure schemes such as an electricity grid and a pipeline to transport Egyptian gas overland to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. "The topics do not exceed ambitions that can be attained," Jordan's Minister of State for Economic Affairs Mohammed Halaykah said. Halaykah said the summit would focus on tangible steps to dismantle hurdles to a free-zone area such as reducing a long list of excluded goods that in effect diluted the free-zone. Egypt, the Arab world's largest market, is expected to lead a push for an Arab common market by 2007 to serve the Arab nation's 270 million population. Ghali said a common market was critical to allow Arabs, with a combined $600 billion gross domestic product, to negotiate on better terms with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and international economic blocs. Inter-Arab trade still accounts for a marginal nine per cent of total Arab foreign trade of around $300 billion annually. Officials blame political disputes that have at times flared into open warfare for hampering efforts to advance Arab cooperation, an old concept first promoted with the signing of the first Arab Common Market accord in 1964, which remained unfulfilled. The 1991 Gulf War was a major setback, they say. Free-trade accords between Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Iraq are already in place, but face protectionist and non-customs hurdles on the ground, officials say. Many Arabs look with envy at the European Union's model of cooperation where member states who fought bloody wars surmounted what seemed to be intractable disputes. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/858664 * ARAB GROUP FAILS TO GET IRAQ, KUWAIT TO COMPROMISE Houston Chronicle, 25th March AMMAN, Jordan (Associated Press) -- Arab foreign ministers tried today to persuade Iraq and Kuwait to agree to a compromise formula to patch over their dispute, which has long divided the Arab world, ahead of a key summit this week. But the ministers were unable to reach a deal on the divisive issue of Iraq by the time formal meetings ended. If further talks can't resolve the dispute, Arab heads of state will have to tackle it when they gather Tuesday. The summit aims at reviving the regular gatherings of Arab League leaders that have been disrupted since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. But divisions are sharp over what stance the league should take on U.N. sanctions against Iraq -- with Iraq pressing Arab leaders to call for their immediate lifting, a stance opposed by Kuwait. The summit in the Jordanian capital convenes amid pressure from the Arab public that leaders address months of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has killed more than 430 people. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi arrived Sunday evening to attend the summit. Under a draft statement being prepared by the ministers for the leaders' approval, Arab leaders would underline their support for the Palestinians and condemn what they call the continuous Israeli aggression, coercion and siege of the Palestinian territories. Jordanian Prime Minister Abdul-Illah Khatib said the foreign ministers urged the U.N. Security Council to provide international protection in light of "oppressive Israeli measures and the tyrant siege" against the Palestinians. Across Egypt today, thousands of university students demonstrated against Israel and urged the Arab summit to forge a united stance in support of the Palestinians. In Damascus, Syria, eight radical Palestinian groups issued a statement urging Arab leaders to halt normal relations with Israel. Egypt and Jordan have peace treaties with the Jewish state, and Arab League member Mauritania has full diplomatic ties. The Iraq-Kuwait debate at the ministers' meeting stirred up intense feelings and forced long hours of diplomatic shuttling between the two sides to find common ground. Khatib said the entire draft final statement for the summit had been decided -- except the Iraq issue, on which consultations would continue. "We are trying to reach a balanced text that will take into consideration the different concerns of each side," he said. "It will be settled. We still have time," said Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa. Baghdad wanted the summit to demand a lifting of U.N. sanctions and a "negation" of the no fly zones over its territory enforced by U.S. and British planes -- including some based in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf. Kuwait opposed those measures and wanted a full Iraqi apology for the 1990 invasion and Arab reassurances it would not happen again -- demands that Iraq's foreign minister refused, according to Arab diplomats. A committee of five countries drafted a "final compromise" today that they tried to get both sides to accept. A minister on the committee, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the proposal underlines the need to work to lift the sanctions but does not directly call for their abolishment. It also reiterates the need to respect the territorial sovereignty of both countries and calls for cooperation to resolve POW issues between the two. Both countries claim that the other is holding prisoners from the 1991 Gulf War. [.....] http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010327/wl/arab_summit_issues_1.html * ARABS SLOWLY OVERCOMING SOME ISSUES (Associated Press, 27th March): Much of the attention at the Arab summit in Jordan has focused on Israel and Iraq; here are other issues Arab states are slowly overcoming: -GADHAFI AND ARAB STATES: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was incensed when fellow Arab nations refused to endorse a 1998 African resolution rejecting U.N. air sanctions against his nation. The sanctions were suspended after Libya surrendered two suspects in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, one of whom was convicted. Gadhafi has worked to promote himself as an African leader, but attended the Amman summit. -EGYPT AND SUDAN: Egypt and Sudan resumed full diplomatic ties last year. Egypt has accused Sudan of supporting Muslim militants battling the government who tried to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Sudan denied the charges. Egypt and Sudan also are at odds over a mineral-rich triangle of territory along their shared border. -IRAQ AND SYRIA: Syria sided with Iran against Iraq in those nations' 1980-88 war and fought with the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War. But Syria under President Bashar Assad has recently called for the lifing of U.N. sanctions against Iraq and for welcoming Iraq back into the Arab fold. -ARAFAT AND SYRIA: Relations have been tense for decades, in part over Damascus' criticism that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has given up too much in negotiations with Israel. But Arafat attended the funeral in Damascus last year of Syrian President Hafez Assad and held brief talks with his son and successor, Bashar Assad. -MOROCCO AND ALGERIA: Morocco has long accused neighboring Algeria of supporting the Polisario Front, whose estimated 15,000 guerrillas battled Morocco's army between 1976 and 1991 for control of the Western Sahara. Fighting in the Sahara, a stretch of desert along Africa's Atlantic coast abandoned by Spain in 1976, ended with a U.N.-negotiated cease fire and plans to hold a referendum to either remain part of Morocco or become independent. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010328/2001032813.html * ARAB LEADERS STRESS NEED TO CLOSE IRAQ - KUWAIT FILE; SUPPORT UPRISING Arabic News, 28th March [.....] An optimism prevailed, stemming from speeches delivered on the possibility of reaching the formula of " the state between Iraq and Kuwait" amid intensive consultations that happened in the lobbies of the summit especially the meeting took place between President Hosni Mubarak and the deputy chairman of the Iraqi revolution leadership council Izzat Ibrahim. The opening session delayed for 45 minutes, waiting for the end of the meeting which said that during which a formula will be issued as a sort of " declaration as a supplement to the final statement of the summit." The Jordanian King Abdullah II inaugurated the morning opening session by calling for one minute silence in memory of " the martyrs of the Palestinian Intifada." During this morning session which lasted for 2.5 hours speeches were made by President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in his capacity as a former President for the summit, then King Abdullah Bin al-Hussein, the Secretary General of the Arab League Dr. Ismat Abdul Miguid, the UN secretary general Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic conference Abdul Wahid Balqaziz; the secretary general of the African Unity Organization Salem Ahmad Salem, the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, the Lebanese President Emil Lahoud and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The night's session started by a speech delivered by the Tunisian President Zein al-Abidin Bin Ali, then the Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and then the Libyan President Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi who asked the session to be a closed door. After al-Qaddafi's speech the summit returned to be in open and the speakers were respectively, the ruler of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad Bin Issa al-Khaleifa; of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khaleifa al-Thani and the Somali President Ahmad Salad Hassan. Until Tuesday after noon the Omani deputy prime minister Fahd Bin Mahmoud who led his country's delegation to the summit, was the first Arab Gulf official who met with Izzat Ibrahim. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010327/2001032717.html * CHRONOLOGY OF ARAB SUMMITS Arabic News, 27th March 1-The first Arab summit was in 1946 in Anshas ( Egypt) because of the increasing Zionist danger in Palestine. 2-Beirut, November, 1956, voicing support to Egypt following the tripartite aggression ( Israel, France and Britain). 3- Cairo, January, 1964 to discuss the Israeli projects to transfer the waters of the Jordan's river and its tributaries. 4- Alexandria, September 1964, declaration the foundation of the Palestine Liberation Organization. 5- Casablanca,September, 1965 support for the Palestinian people. 6- al-Khartoum, August, 1967 discussions on the results of the June 1967 war set back and voicing support to the Arab states bordering Israel. 7- Casablanca, December 1969, discussions of financial support for the " confrontation states ( Arab states fighting Israel)/ 8- Cairo, September, 1970 discussions on the fighting between the Jordanian Authorities and the Palestinian resistance. 9- Algiers, November, 1973. Discussions on how to monitor the Arab- Israeli conflict after the October war. 10- al-Rabat, October, 1974 declaration that the PLO is the sole and only representative of the Palestinian people and finding out means to support inter- Arab economic relations. 11- Cairo, October 1976 discussions on the incidents taking place in Lebanon ( the civil war). 12- Baghdad, November 1978 announcing rejection of the Camp David Agreements between Egypt and Israel. 13- Tunisia, November 1979, withstanding results of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel and suspending Egypt's membership at the Arab league. 14- Amman, November 1980, discussing a strategy of common Arab work strategy. 15- Fez, November 1981 confronting the Israeli aggression against South Lebanon. 16- Fez, September 1982, discussing the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. 17- Rabat, August, 1985 discussing the consequences of the Iraqi- Iranian war. 18- Amman, November 1987 Arab reconciliation summit. The summit provides for returning Egypt back to the Arab ranks. 19- Algiers, June, 1988 the first Palestinian Intifada. 20- Casablanca, May, 1989 unifying Arab ranks and declaration of Egypt's return to the Arab League. 21- Baghdad, may 1990 discussions of the Soviet Jews increased migration to Israel 22- Cairo, August, 1990 the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. 23- Cairo, June 1996 discussing the results of the Israeli right wing in Israel on the possibilities of peace settlement. 24- Cairo, October 2000 on support to al-Aqsa Intifada Tomader http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/printedition/article/0,2669,SAV 0103280307,FF.html * HUSSEIN CONDEMNS JEWS; ARABS DIVIDED ON IRAQ by Neil MacFarquhar Chicago Tribune, March 28, 2001 AMMAN, Jordan -- Arab leaders repeatedly expressed support Tuesday for the Palestinian rebellion against Israeli rule, sometimes using the issue to camouflage a deep Iraqi-Kuwaiti rift that is blocking any joint effort to lift UN sanctions against Iraq. At the first regular Arab summit gathering in more than 10 years, some of the most soaring oratory came from President Saddam Hussein, whose speech, delivered by a deputy, painted Iraq as the savior of the Arab people. Ending with the line, "May God damn the Jews!" Hussein said Iraq was ready to "liberate" Palestine and threatened that other Arab leaders would face the wrath of their people if they did not take part. President Bashar Assad of Syria also used his speech to lash out at Israel. He said that in electing Ariel Sharon, a man viewed in the Arab world as a killer for his long association with deadly attacks on Palestinians, the Israelis showed they were not interested in peace. In a slight departure from the past, some of the younger leaders said pointedly that speeches were not enough. King Abdullah II of Jordan, along with the young Syrian president, noted that summit meetings had been producing oratory for years and that the Arab on the street wanted more. Despite such comments, there was no immediate sign that this gathering, an attempt to return to regular annual meetings, would move very far beyond speeches. Meeting during the weekend, foreign ministers failed to find a middle ground between the Iraqi and Kuwaiti positions on the sanctions. "What has been proposed to us until now is not acceptable," said Tariq Aziz, Iraq's deputy prime minister. Iraq wants Arab leaders to break the sanctions, condemn U.S. and British air patrols over Iraq, and encourage civilian flights to Baghdad. The Kuwaitis, while agreeing the sanctions should end, balked at any Arab stance that lacked an explicit commitment by Iraq not to threaten Kuwait. "Iraq is responsible for the violation and destruction of Arab solidarity when it invaded Kuwait more than 10 years ago," said Muhammad Salem al-Sabah, Kuwait's minister of state for foreign affairs. Hussein focused on Israel, saying 7 million Iraqis were willing to fight Israel for the Palestinians. "By God we will bring them with an army whose end will be in Baghdad and its forefront will make the criminal Zionist invaders' and occupiers' blood run cold," he said. The speech, which was read by Izzat Ibrahim, vice president of the Revolutionary Command Council, said the blockade of Iraq and the battle of the Palestinian people should be considered one issue. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan used his remarks to the gathering to suggest that Iraq comply with Security Council resolutions, saying Iraq will accomplish more through cooperation, not confrontation. In electing Sharon to be their leader, Syria's Assad said, Israelis had chosen a man who hated anything to do with Arabs. "We say that the head of the government is a racist, it's a racist government, a racist army and security force," he said, adding that by extension, "It is a racist society and it is even more racist than the Nazis." To show his support for the Palestinians, Assad met with Yasser Arafat, whom his father had ostracized for decades. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010328/2001032807.html * SAUDI ARABIA WILL NOT PERMIT ITS LAND TO BE USED FOR MILITARY ACTS AGAINST IRAQ Arabic News, 28th March The Saudi foreign minister prince Saud al-Faisal has renewed his country's rejection to any military acts that might be taken against Iraq, noting that the final statement of the Arab summit will include his country's assertion to not permit that her land will be a starting point to any military acts against Iraq. In a statement to the Saudi daily al-Jazira, the Saudi foreign minister said that Saudi Arabia has been always against the military acts against Iraq. He explained that Saudi Arabia has conveyed its vision concerning the military operations against Iraq to the US secretary of state Colin Powell during his recent visit to the region. http://www.bahraintribune.com/middle.asp?Art_No=6337 * KING ABDULLAH TO FOLLOW UP ON IRAQ-KUWAIT ROW Bahrain Tribune, 29th March AMMAN: The Arab summit yesterday asked Jordan¹s King Abdullah II to undertake further consultations and contacts to improve the execrable relations between Iraq and Kuwait for the sake of Arab ³solidarity² The summit commissions Jordan¹s King Abdullah II to carry out contacts ... on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait for the sake of Arab solidarity,² said the League¹s secretary general, Esmat Abdel Meguid He was speaking at the closing session of a two-day Arab summit divided on Iraq but united in its support for the Palestinian uprising against Israel The decision to entrust King Abdullah with the delicate task of resolving differences between Iraq and Kuwait was a separate recommendation not contained in a final set of resolutions Iraq earlier refused to endorse a three-point draft resolution on its ties with Kuwait, which accepted the document ³I am not opposed to the decision by the summit to entrust the question of the situation (between Iraq and Kuwait) to King Abdullah but I would like to underscore that there is Arab consensus here on the resolution,² Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said ³This should be made clear. All the Arab countries (except Iraq) approved the draft on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait because it is in the interest of Kuwait, Iraq and the Arab nation,² Shaikh Sabah said The Kuwaiti official was specifically asked to speak to make that point. AFP http://www.bahraintribune.com/middle.asp?Art_No=6338 * TEXT OF DRAFT RESOLUTION [ON IRAQ-KUWAIT CONFRONTATION AT ARAB SUMMIT] Bahrain Tribune, 29th March AMMAN: Following is an unofficial translation of the Arabic-language text of a draft resolution on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait. Iraq has reportedly turned down the document while Kuwait has accepted its terms ³In appreciation of the grave circumstances facing the Arab nation, and the regional and international challenges confronting it, and due to its concern to solve all the pending problems, particularly the situation between Iraq and Kuwait, and in order to avoid their repetition and to re-establish Arab solidarity, the Arab leaders have decided the following: 1. Reaffirmation of the need to respect the Charter of the Arab League and its objectives and to preserve national Arab security, on the basis of the integrity and sovereignty of each country over its territory, its natural resources and its rights, non-interference and the non use of force or threats and a commitment to solve disputes through peaceful means and negotiations 2. (A) Reaffirmation of the independence and sovereignty of the State of Kuwait, the preservation of its security and territorial unity, within its internationally-recognised borders, non-interference in its internal affairs, the need for Iraq to respect these principles and to adopt policies capable of respecting them (B) Reaffirmation of the respect of the independence and sovereignty of Iraq. Calling to a halt all measures that undermine its sovereignty and threatens its security, particularly those taken outside UN Security Council Resolutions, namely military strikes (C) Calling on Iraq to implement all the commitments contained in the UN Security Council Resolutions to resolve the problem of the Kuwaiti prisoners and to restore Kuwaiti property (D) Putting an end to all the pending issues related to weapons of mass destruction and their control through negotiations between Iraq and the UN Security Council in order to complete a resolution on this issue in an equitable and rapid way, in order to set up a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East 3. (A) A call for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iraq (B) The taking of necessary steps to resume commercial flights with Iraq (C) A call for co-operation to resolve the question of Iraqi missing persons with the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross. AFP http://www.iht.com/articles/15037.html * AN IRAQ-KUWAIT ACCORD ELUDES ARABS AT SUMMIT by Howard Schneider, Washington Post Service International Herald Tribune, 29th March AMMAN, Jordan Arab leaders approved on Wednesday a $240 million emergency bailout of the Palestinian National Authority, scaling back earlier unfulfilled financial promises with a more modest monthly stipend meant to keep Yasser Arafat's government afloat while the uprising against Israel continued But the leaders failed to reach agreement over what they have termed "the situation between Iraq and Kuwait," issuing a 52- point final declaration that committed King Abdullah II of Jordan to work toward a reconciliation of the two countries but which included no other mention of one of the Arab world's chief divisions A separate communique said the 22 members of the Arab League would continue to work toward a lifting of international sanctions against Iraq, but the outcome left Iraqi officials angry over a "hardheaded" attitude they blamed on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, triggering the Gulf War. During the days of recent meetings aimed at reconciling the two, Kuwait said it agreed sanctions against Iraq had gone on too long, but it wanted an apology for the invasion, a commitment that it would not be repeated, and a pledge by Iraq to abide by United Nations resolutions approved after the war Iraq refused and charged that Kuwait had no grounds to fret over its national security with U.S. troops and planes still based there "Are the Kuwaitis respecting our sovereignty?" Foreign Minister Mohammed Said Sahaf asked. "There are daily flights hurting our people." American and British planes based in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia patrol a no-flight zone over southern Iraq The sharp words concluded a session that took place amid intensifying Palestinian-Israeli violence - a series of car and suicide bombs detonated inside Israel, followed by retaliatory Israeli strikes Wednesday night in the Palestinian territories The meeting nevertheless was considered a success for having made the most comprehensive Arab effort yet to heal Gulf War divisions Along with major issues like Kuwait and the Palestinians, they addressed a grab bag of other topics in an effort to keep their loose knit family at peace - calling for the lifting of sanctions against Libya, for example, and characterizing a Libyan, Abdel Basset Meguid, as a political "hostage" despite his conviction in a Scottish court on charges of planting a bomb that destroyed a Pan American airliner over Scotland To demonstrate the Arabs' newly flowering relations, the Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi, cheerfully agreed at the end to give $1 million to the Comoros Islands, a nation, along with Somalia and Djibouti, that many Arabs in the Middle East were surprised to discover at the summit table While the debate over Iraq and Kuwait dominated much of the meeting's attention, the decision to begin monthly funding of the Palestinian Authority represented the one substantive breakthrough of the two-day session At an October summit, pledges of $1 billion were made to aid the Palestinian cause and its goal of keeping Arab control of Muslim holy sites in East Jerusalem Little of the money was turned over, leaving the Authority near bankruptcy with its local economy in tatters and Israel withholding tax and customs receipts collected on its behalf. But it also demonstrates the limits of Arab action even for a cause which rhetoric places at the fore of Arab consciousness, and which public opinion strongly favors "We can only salute the children of Palestine, these heroes," said the Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. "They give their innocence to defend the land." The approval of the money was accompanied by harsh condemnations of Israel, criticism of the U.S. for vetoing an international observer force in the Palestinian territories, a demand that Israeli "war criminals" be tried, and a threat to sever relations with any country that moved its capital to Jerusalem while it remained under Israeli control But compared to earlier Arab summits, including one that issued three "no's" to negotiation, reconciliation and recognition, of Israel, it is a moderate outcome Over the decades, the Arab states waged war against Israel, and deployed an oil embargo against the west in an effort to weaken and vanquish Israel Those tactics are no longer even seriously discussed. http://www.bahraintribune.com/middle.asp?Art_No=6344 * EXCERPTS FROM COMMUNIQUE [FROM ARAB SUMMIT] Bahrain Tribune, 29th March AMMAN: Here are excerpts, translated by Reuters, from the final communique of the two day Arab summit that ended in Amman yesterday o The Arab leaders salute the Palestinian people on its heroic uprising against the ferocious aggression launched by Israel and its confrontation of the barbaric oppression exerted by the occupation. The leaders declare their backing for the Palestinian people in its heroic struggle and support for its uprising and legitimate right in resisting the occupation until their national and just rights are achieved, including the right of return and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its sacred capital Jerusalem. o The leaders denounce Israel¹s continuous aggression against the Palestinian people and its violations of human rights, especially the collective punishment and continued attacks on vital institutions and which constitute war crimes against humanity and racist practices. o The leaders call on the (UN) Security Council to shoulder the responsibility of providing the necessary international protection for the Palestinian people and to try Israeli war criminals who committed massacres and crimes against Arabs in the occupied territories. o The leaders express their dismay at the US veto at the Security Council that blocked the formation of an international observer force in the occupied territories. They declare their total rejection of the American justifications which do not conform with the role of the United States as a co-sponsor of the peace process and a permanent member at the Security Council. o The leaders hail the Higher Council for the Al-Aqsa Fund and the Jerusalem Intifada Fund for its quick response to support the budget of the Palestinian Authority by paying $15 million of a soft loan that was approved from a total of $60 million in line with a proposal submitted by Saudi Arabia. o In view of the difficult financial and economic situation lived by the Palestinian people, they delegate the Higher Council of the two funds to respond to the Palestinian Authority¹s request to pay an additional amount ($180 million) to support the authority¹s budget for the next six months. o The leaders welcome Iraq¹s allocation of one billion euros from its oil export sales to secure humanitarian and basic needs for the Palestinian people and to help the families of the martyrs of the Intifada. o The Arab leaders warn Israel against the repercussions of departing from the foundations and principles of the peace process laid down in Madrid in 1991 and warn against the outcome of ignoring it or presenting alternatives that do not conform to the basis of international legitimacy. o The Arab leaders ask Arab countries to continue the suspension of multilateral talks and halt all regional economic co-operation and activities with Israel and to firmly confront Israel¹s endeavours to penetrate in the Arab world under any cover and to stop establishing any relations with Israel. o They demand the reactivation of the Arab boycott against Israel through the regular convening of boycott conferences called by the main boycott office to prevent dealings with Israel. o They call for setting a clear Arab strategy to uncover Israeli schemes which do not seek peace and threaten security. o They pledge their support for Lebanon and Syria and reject Israeli threats which have escalated recently against the two countries. They praise the Lebanese resistance against Israeli occupation and call for the release of all Lebanese detainees and prisoners in Israeli prisons. o The leaders affirm that achieving peace and security in the region require Israel to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to put all Israeli nuclear installations under international inspection. They confirm the importance of ridding the region of nuclear and mass destruction weapons. o The Arab leaders renew their backing and solidarity with Libya in demanding that the Security Council immediately and completely lift the sanctions imposed on Libya...after Libya fulfilled all the commitments stipulated in the Security Council...The leaders support Libya in its demand to obtain compensation for human and material losses it incurred because of the sanctions. o The leaders agree that the next annual summit would be held in Lebanon in 2002. o The leaders agree to select Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa as secretary-general of the Arab League. Reuters http://www3.haaretz.co.il/eng/scripts/article.asp?mador=14&datee=3/29/01&id= 114944 * ARABS UNITED ON ISRAEL, DIVIDED ON IRAQ by Daniel Sobelman Ha'aretz, 29th March The Arab League Summit ended last night with unanimous Arab condemnation of Israel and divisions on what to do about Iraq Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said in a ministry statement that, "The summit's conclusion is an obstacle to peace and only worsens the hostility between the sides, by attempting to dictate a one-sided policy instead of returning to the negotiating table, where the two sides are equal and make compromises "The world can not accept the interpretation the summit gave to the land-for-peace formula, whereby Israel gives land but does not get peace," Peres said. "Israel does not want to rule another people, and its government is against collective punishment. Israel has taken a long series of steps to ease the burden on the Palestinian civilian population. And even while facing a terrorist front, Israel does not give up its desire to bring peace to the entire region," Peres noted The Arab summit's condemnation of Israel included unanimous support for the Palestinians, called for sending an international force to the region to protect the Palestinians from Israeli "war criminals," and claimed Israel used weapons banned by international treaties. The Arab leaders also warned against the results of Israel's "retreat" from the principles of the peace process launched in Madrid in 1991 They vowed to send $240 million to the Palestinians over the coming six months, and reconfirmed the boycott of the multinational talks and a freeze on all cooperation with Israel. The summit also called on the Arab League to reinstate the dormant boycott against Israel U.S. reaction to the summit's anti-Israeli sentiment was blunt: Washington rejected as totally unacceptable Syrian President Bashar Assad's condemnation of Israel as a racist society, "more racist than the Nazis." "Assad's statement at the summit meeting in Amman is totally unacceptable and inappropriate," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. The senior American diplomat also expressed Bush administration opposition to renewal of the Arab boycott against Israel While the summit's communique said Arab countries should forge no new diplomatic or economic ties with Israel, it did not demand that Egypt and Jordan, which have peace treaties with Israel, should break their relations with the Jewish state On the matter of Iraq, the summit's final communique said a committee led by Jordan's King Abdullah would pursue discussions on the "situation between Iraq and Kuwait." The rift over Iraq, festering since the 1990-91 Gulf crisis, proved unbridgeable, despite intense mediation efforts involving several Arab nations which had sought a last-minute compromise "The Kuwaiti delegation drove the summit to failure," Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf told reporters, claiming Kuwait had rejected a compromise drafted by five Arab leaders. Kuwait Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed al-Sabah said earlier that his country wanted Iraq to guarantee it would not repeat its 1990 invasion Arab leaders welcomed an Iraqi pledge to give Palestinians one billion euros ($887 million) - although the U.N. Security Council, which controls Baghdad's oil revenues, has rejected the idea Asked if he was happy with the summit's outcome, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat replied: "Yes. There were very strong decisions that have been accepted by all the members." The Arab leaders at the summit expressed their "dismay" at the U.S. veto in the Security Council on Tuesday that blocked sending an international observer force to the West Bank and Gaza The summit appointed Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa as secretary-general of the Arab League, replacing fellow-Egyptian Esmat Abdel Magid, who has served two five-year terms. Arab leaders, holding their first ordinary summit since the 1990-91 Gulf crisis, agreed to convene the next Arab League Summit in Lebanon in 2002 The debate over Iraq's conflict with Kuwait took most of the energies of the Amman gathering right up to the last minute. "Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have shown great flexibility, but Iraq ... will have wasted a fine chance if it does not accept this proposal," Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said of the debate Officials from Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Syria tried in vain to produce language acceptable to Iraq and its Gulf War foes, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, in meetings that delayed wrapping up the final session by two hours Baghdad wants the Arab world to help it throw off 11 years of U.N. sanctions and get rid of U.S.-British air patrols that enforce "no-fly zones" in northern and southern Iraq Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which still distrust their Gulf neighbor, want Iraq to comply with Security Council resolutions, including those that demand the scrapping of its weapons of mass destruction http://www.timesofindia.com/300301/30mide4.htm * ARAB SUMMIT OUTCOME DISAPPOINTING FOR IRAQ Times of India, 30th March BAGHDAD: The outcome of the Arab summit in Amman was disappointing, a senior Iraqi MP said on Thursday, as Baghdad said that the meeting resulted in only the bare minimum it wanted on the Palestinian issue and sanctions on Iraq "The results of the summit were disappointing with regards to the Palestinian intifada (uprising) and the lifting of the embargo on Iraq," Salem al-Qabissi, head of the parliamentary commission on Arab and international relations, said The results "do not respond to the expectations of Arab peoples," Qabissi said Iraq had demanded that Arab leaders unilaterally break the sanctions on Baghdad, under embargo since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait The summit's "Amman declaration" called simply for "the lifting of sanctions against Iraq," but the issue was omitted from the summit's separate final communique Iraq rejected a three-point draft resolution, which was agreed to by Kuwait, despite last ditch efforts by Jordan's King Abdullah II, who was charged with trying to reconcile the differences between Iraq and Kuwait, and several Arab leaders Radio Baghdad announced on Thursday that Iraqi number two Ezzat Ibrahim, who addressed the summit on behalf of president Saddam Hussein, had extended his stay for a "few days" in the Jordanian capital He was accompanied by foreign minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf, the radio said, without giving details of their stay "Kuwait dug its heels in with no reason over the vote on the draft resolution proposed by the summit" for a settlement between Iraq and Kuwait, Sahhaf said, quoted in Iraqi newspapers Sahhaf said "Kuwaiti leaders wanted to block the summit through their shilly-shallying." Al-Iraq, mouthpiece of Kurds loyal to Saddam's regime, accused Kuwait of "having conformed to a mission defined by the Americans to block any positive initiative in favour of the Palestinian issue "Kuwait's representatives came to kill the Amman summit with an American knife whose piercing blade was in Amman but whose handle was in Washington held by (US Secretary of State) Colin Powell," the paper said Qabissi charged the US administration with "exercising direct and indirect pressure to prevent the summit from reaching bold resolutions in the interests of the Arab nation." "Fear of the US influenced the composition of resolutions adopted by Arab leaders," Ath Thawra paper said, adding that the "leaders of Kuwait and others ... represented the United States, speaking in its name and applying its orders." "The resolutions and recommendations from the summit offered the bare minimum required on the two main issues: that of Palestine and the sanctions imposed on Iraq," charged the mouthpiece of the ruling Baath party "The Iraqi people are counting on their capability to continue resisting until sanctions are lifted," Baghdad resident Ziyad Hamid said The state employee said that he was sorry the "summit did not support Iraq's request to resume flights to Baghdad for fear of offending the United States even while the air embargo has no legal basis." The rate of the dollar to the Iraqi dinar, a realistic barometer of political and economic life in Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War, went up another 45 dinars on Thursday to 1,780 dinars to one greenback "We were expecting some measures to be taken during the summit to ease the embargo but the failure of the meeting has depressed the market," one money exchanger said. (AFP) http://www.petranews.gov.jo/2001/87/en8738.htm * AMMAN DECLARATION Jordan News Agency Amman, March 28, (Petra)---Following is the full text of Amman Declaration issued on Wednesday at the closing session of the 13th ordinary Arab summit: We, Kings, President and Emirs of the Arab countries, convened our summit in its 13th ordinary session in Amman, after we had conducted an overall assessment of the inter-Arab relations, the current Arab circumstances, and in light of the challenges facing the nation, the threats infringing the Arab nation's security and the situation the Mideast peace process has come to, taking into consideration the international changes particularly the information revolution, globalization and the emergence of gigantic regional blocs, and in the wake of our willingness to further boost inter-Arab relations to achieve the supreme objectives of the Arab nation, we declare the following: We adhere to our national bonds of brotherhood that brings together Arab nation's citizens and unite their objectives, to the principles of the Arab League's charter and to the preservation of the pan-Arab national security on the basis respecting the sovereignty of each country on its land, resources and rights and prohibiting interference in internal affairs and the use of force or threat and the commitment to settle disputes through peaceful means. We affirm our commitment to the decision to convene the Arab summit regularly and on its fixed date due to its significance to give momentum to the joint Arab action. We stress the need to pursue efforts to further cement Arab solidarity and to revive the joint Arab action to achieve Arab economic integration according to a new approach based on objective and realistic rules and on accumulative and gradual work that safeguards each country's uniqueness and national interests and simultaneously achieves continuous sectoral cooperation and coordination among Arab institutions and bodies having similar orientations and views. We support interaction among Arab citizens in the Arab countries to further strengthen links and to safeguard their interests and enhance their role to contribute to the march of Arab development which will have a positive impact on fortifying the nation and protecting its identity. We encourage interaction with other cultures and civilizations stemming from the noble message of Islam that rejects racism and calls for tolerance and co-existence on the basis of mutual respect and on safeguarding legitimate rights. We offer full assistance to the Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese brethren in their strife to restore their legitimate rights, affirming that the Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories particularly Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan heights and the Lebanese Sheba Farms till the 4 June 1967 borderline is the only means to realize just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The realization of this peace is the sole guarantee to provide security for all, which is closely associated to freeing the region from weapons of mass-destruction foremost of which is Israel's nuclear weapons. In this regard, we appeal to the international community and all the parties concerned with international peace and security to shoulder their responsibilities within a comprehensive and balanced criteria. We call for lifting the sanctions on Iraq and for dealing with the humanitarian issues pertaining to Iraqi, Kuwaiti and other prisoners of war according to the principles of our religion and national heritage. We call upon all Arabs to raise up the minor differences, to pursue efforts to achieve inter Arab reconciliation and to refrain from whatever that may harm Arab solidarity or may threaten the Arab national security or the national security of any country including the role of media- without affecting freedom of speech- in moulding the national public opinion that supports the joint Arab action and defends the Arab nation's causes and the citizens' rights most significant of which is the rights of the Arab citizen. We urge every Arab country to taking the necessary steps, each according to its own circumstances, to speed up the establishment of the Arab great free trade zone and to offer full support to the Arab ministerial commission entrusted to follow up the implementation of Amman Arab summit resolutions. We express our appreciation to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan under the leadership of His Majesty king Abdullah II for its efforts exerted and distinctive preparations made to host this summit, affirming our full confidence in His Majesty's leadership of the joint Arab action with utmost wisdom, responsibility and keenness to enhance efforts to boost Arab solidarity. The Arab leaders entrusted His Majesty King Abdullah, President of the summit to conduct consultations with Arab leaders and the Arab league to continue discussing the "Situation between Iraq and Kuwait,". GENERAL MIDDLE EASTERN-IRAQI RELATIONS http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=13217 * UAE SAYS UN MUST OVERHAUL ITS APPROACH TO GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS by Nissar Hoath, Abu Dhabi Gulf News, 29th March The United Arab Emirates yesterday called on the United Nations to reconsider its policy on economic sanctions. The call was made by Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan in a speech delivered by Sheikh Hasher Maktoum, Dubai Director of Information, at a seminar here The two-day "International Seminar on the Culture of Peace and the Arab Issue", was organised by the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up to discuss issues concerning regional and world stability Sheikh Sultan strongly criticised the sanctions on Iraq, Libya and Sudan, and called for them to be lifted. "May humanity be spared the tragedy of war and the unjust blockades and sanctions imposed on innocent people, as witnessed in Iraq, Sudan and Libya." Such tragedies haunt the human conscience, he said. "We look forward to more humane relations everywhere and for the elimination of the spectre of fear from unjust sanctions." It is time for the United Nations to reconsider its approach to its responsibilities without favouring one party at the expense of others, he said The Deputy Prime Minister criticised the UN on the Middle East peace process, saying the world struggles with the principles of international legitimacy, but in the case of the Palestinian issue the position of the world body is at best dismissive "The Holy Land, the cradle of holy messengers and prophets, and where the Palestinians have lived for millennia, has been submerged in the worst kind of violence, oppression and torment." Sheikh Sultan also said that what is happening in Palestine not only affects the Palestinians but also disgraces human dignity. "And here I will reiterate what President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan said: 'The Palestinian question is the core of the Arab Israeli struggle, and there will be no peace without the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital'." He also expressed fear over the increasing threat of Israeli nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Israel seeks to maintain its superiority not only by stockpiling such weapons of mass destruction, but also by striving to deny the Arab world parity "Coerced peace is no peace at all. Peace in our region cannot be realised under the coercion of violence, and force cannot foster genuine and enduring peace, which can only be achieved through dialogue," he said. [.....] http://www.tehrantimes.com/advsearch.asp * DIPLOMAT: IRAN'S TIES WITH REGIONAL STATES IN GOOD STATUS Tehran Times, 28th March KUWAIT - Iran's Ambassador to Kuwait Ali Jannati told a Kuwaiti daily that relations between Iran and regional states are in a good status and that the main strategy of the Islamic Republic is to consolidate ties with these countries The Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas in its Monday edition quoted Jannati as saying that relations between Iran and the Persian Gulf littoral states were growing He said however that certain countries in and outside the region were trying to mar relations between Iran and its neighbors and to obstruct their expansion He added that Iranian and Kuwaiti experts are soon to start talks on continental shelf per an [sic - PB, as per an?] agreement reached between the Iranian and Kuwaiti oil ministers The diplomat said Iran has built many dams and acquired experiences in the field of water reserves and now it has the potential to transfer water to other countries He said that regional states cannot rely on their water disalination plants in the long run considering growing pollution of the Persian Gulf waters He added that since two years ago, a Iran-Kuwait-UK consortium has been studying feasibility of a project for transfer of Iran's water to Kuwait Jannati said early studies have been made by the consortium on transfer of water from Karkhe dam southwest of Iran to Kuwait He said the project will be in interest of Iran and Kuwait, serving to promote cooperation between the two countries He added that there will be international guarantees for transfer of Iran's water to Kuwait for the next 20 years On Iran-iraq ties, Jannati said following the eight-year (1980- 88) imposed war, Iran made efforts to resume ties with iraq, given the long borders shared by the two sides Jannati said there are still problems remaining unsolved such as the issue of Iranian prisoners of war (POWs) kept in iraq, abundant damage inflicted on Iran during the war, destruction of 11 border cities and refineries as well as industrial plants and installations, and for this reason efforts to resume amicable ties between the two countries have not been fruitful He termed Iran-Syria ties as strategic'' and said the ties were founded by father of the Islamic Revolution and Founder of the Islamic Republic the late Imam Khomeini and the late Syrian president Hafiz al-Assad and nothing can affect bilateral ties Asked on Iran-Egypt ties, Jannati said relations between Tehran and Cairo are improving with the two countries continuing their efforts to remove minor problems and obstacles On Iran-Russian military cooperation, Jannati said the agreements reached between the two countries are not against any country and will not affect the level of ties between Iran and her neighboring states He said it is Iran's right to defend herself against enemies and if the budget spent by Iran for arms purchases is compared with that of other regional states, including the UAE, it will be clear that Iran stands at the bottom of the list. (IRNA) http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010329/2001032919.html * MOROCCO, IRAQ HOLD 9TH SESSION OF JOINT COMMISSION Arabic News, 29th March Morocco and Iraq will hold the 9th session of their joint commission this March 31 through April 3 in Baghdad, it was officially announced in Rabat Morocco's minister of industry, trade, energy and mining, Mustapha Mansouri, will lead the Moroccan delegation to the meeting Baghdad will also host an exhibition of made-in-Morocco food, pharmaceutical, electronic and mechanic products with the participation of 120 Moroccan companies Last February, Moroccan economic daily "L'Economiste" reported that five Moroccan enterprises have struck in the second half of last year $ 100 million-worth of UN-authorized deals According to the paper some contracts are still suspended by a UN commission over suspicions that the supplies could have a double use, such as a $ 1.2 million contract for the supply of computer equipment and a $ 2.2 million contract of irrigation machinery http://www.sfgate.com/cgi bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/03/30/MN150669.DTL * TURKS, KURDS VIOLATE IRAQ OIL EMBARGO -- WITH U.S. BLESSING by Douglas Frantz, New York Times San Francisco Chronicle, 30th March Habur, Turkey -- Deep in the dusty southeastern corner of Turkey, closer to Baghdad than to Istanbul, a line of 200 aging tanker trucks stretches for half a mile along the highway as drivers wait to unload Iraqi diesel fuel at a depot run by the Turkish government. The trucks are returning from Iraq with full tanks on the last leg of a journey that openly flouts the U.N. economic embargo against Baghdad. It is sanctions-busting smuggling regulated and taxed by the Turkish government and tolerated by the United Nations and the United States. Estimates on the volume of Iraqi oil and diesel fuel passing through Habur Gate, the only legal crossing between Iraq and Turkey, range from $300 million to $600 million a year. Western diplomats calculate that the illicit business puts $120 million a year in the pocket of President Saddam Hussein. "This trade is outside the sanctions system," said a senior Turkish official, who spoke on the condition his name not be used. "But I would say it is indispensable for Turkey, and we are sensitive not to allow it to help Iraq acquire weapons of mass destruction." There is, however, no way to monitor what Iraq does with the revenue. Western diplomats say the trade has increased as oil prices have climbed. They justify turning a blind eye because the money helps the battered economy in this volatile region of Turkey, an important American ally. The trade also is the chief source of income for northern Iraq's Kurdistan Democratic Party, which opposes Hussein. Because of the political considerations, the smuggling continues and underscores a quandary confronting the Bush administration as it shapes its sanctions policy. The United States and Britain have been under pressure from other members of the U.N. Security Council to ease the sanctions. One contention is that the borders are porous anyway; experts say illegal goods and oil flow overland from Jordan and Syria and through boats in the Persian Gulf. Another argument is that the sanctions on Iraq have inflicted the most damage on the Iraqi people and neighboring countries. Turkey has been hard hit by the embargo. Iraq was not only a major trading partner, but also a conduit for getting Turkish agricultural products into the Middle East. Turkish officials say the embargo has cost the economy $35 billion to $40 billion, and the country's current economic crisis has increased pressure to expand trade with Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell is trying to develop sanctions that will allow more consumer goods into Iraq and tighten the rein on Hussein's ability to buy weapons. But any attempt to loosen controls is likely to face opposition from hard-liners at the Pentagon and conservative Republicans in Congress. Iraq is allowed to sell oil under U.N. supervision only through a pipeline to Ceyhan on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, and by ship through Mina al Bakr, a Persian Gulf port. Proceeds go into an account administered by the United Nations to buy food, medicine and other goods and to pay war reparations. To gain more control over its oil revenues and try to defeat the sanctions, Iraq has been sending oil through an unauthorized pipeline to Syria. It also increased sales of low-grade fuel oil and diesel fuel to the truckers who ply their trade through Habur Gate. Turkish and Western government officials as well as truckers said Iraq sold the oil and diesel fuel to the Kurdistan Peoples Party, despite its opposition to Baghdad. The party is an independent force that controls the border on the Iraqi side. Masoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdish party, marks up the price, adds a tax and resells it to truckers. The revenue helps Barzani cement his control over the border area and makes the towns and villages relatively prosperous, diplomats said. A 31-year-old Turkish truck driver said he paid 14 cents a liter for diesel fuel in Iraq, including a 2-cent tax. He said he normally waited at least three days to load because the lines were so long. Once loaded, truckers said, 2,000 or more trucks are often lined up at the border because Turkey allows only 450 tankers a day back into the country. Turkish officials said the limit was necessary so trucks can be inspected for other smuggling. The volume of tankers remains far below pre-embargo levels, and the landscape is dotted with thousands of hulks of rusting tankers, described by one official as "martyrs to the embargo." Officials estimate that 40,000 to 50, 000 trucks now haul oil and diesel fuel from Iraq into Turkey. By 1999, the illegal trade accounted for a quarter of Turkey's diesel fuel consumption, and that was when the government stepped in to institutionalize the smuggling with new regulations. Truckers who had made at least a trip a month were limited to one every three months. Instead of selling diesel fuel on the open market, they were required to unload at the government depot in nearby Silopi and pay taxes. The government profited two ways -- by taxing the fuel and by reselling it to distributors at a higher price. The depot collected $74 million in taxes in its first four months in late 1999, but officials said more recent figures were not available. "With our controls, it is almost impossible to get anything through," Abdullah Erin, the deputy governor who runs the customs gate, said as he strolled through a lot filled with trucks awaiting examination. Erin and Huseyin Baskaya, the provincial governor, insisted that the trade operated within U.N. sanctions. Baskaya even said he was establishing a company to take part in the business, with profits earmarked for civic projects. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/010330/2001033010.html * IZZAT IBRAHIM, AL-SAHAF EXTEND THEIR STAY IN AMMAN Arabic News, 30th March Baghdad radio said on Thursday afternoon that deputy chairman of the revolution's leadership in Iraq Izzat Ibrahim has extended his visit to Jordan. The Arab country which was assigned by the Arab summit to follow up contacts to reach reconciliation between Baghdad and Kuwait While the radio announced the return back of the Iraqi deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz, it noted that the visit of Ibrahim to Jordan will last for " several days." The Iraqi radio did not mention other details on the program of the visit in which Ibrahim is accompanied by the foreign minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahaf Ibrahim had presided over the Iraqi delegation to the summit conference which concluded its deliberations in Amman on Wednesday without reaching an agreement between Iraq and Kuwait [.....] http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=63764 * UN PRESSES IRAQ OVER PRISONERS OF WAR Independent, 30 March 2001 The UN Security Council said it is "of crucial importance" that Iraq resumes its participation in an international committee set up after the 1991 Gulf war to look into the issue of missing persons and prisoners of war. Council members also urged Iraq "to fully cooperate with all agencies and bodies dealing with this issue in order to achieve progress in resolving this humanitarian problem." The council issued a statement expressing concern at the plight of Kuwaiti POWs and missing persons after council president Volodymyr Yel'chenko of Ukraine briefed members on his March 23 meeting with Sheik Salem Al Sabah, chairman of Kuwait's National Committee for Missing Persons and Prisoners of War Affairs. Kuwait says it cannot consider reconciling with Baghdad until Iraq accounts for the 600 missing Kuwaitis and other nationals, and implements all Security Council resolutions. Baghdad maintains it has released all war prisoners, but lost track of 127 in an uprising after the war. It has withdrawn from an international committee looking into the issue, accusing Kuwait of failing to account for 1,150 missing Iraqis. Kuwait has said it is willing to prove to international observers that it holds no Iraqi prisoners from Iraq's 19901991 occupation of its territory and the war that liberated the country. GENERAL INTERNATIONAL-IRAQI RELATIONS http://www.dawn.com/2001/03/31/nat20.htm * IRAQI [HEALTH] MINISTER ARRIVES [IN PAKISTAN] Dawn (Pakistan), 31st March KARACHI, March 30: The Iraqi health minister, Dr Omed Madhat Mubarak, arrived here, from Baghdad, on a 4-day visit to Pakistan. At the airport, Dr Omed was welcomed by the provincial health minister, Ahsan Ahmed, besides the chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau, Tariq Ikram, and the provincial health secretary, Khalid Lateef Choudhry. Before Dr Omed's departure for Islamabad, the two ministers sat in the lounge area and exchanged views on matters of common interests. Mr Ahmed briefed the Iraqi minister about the progress made by Pakistan's pharmaceutical industry and said that local companies had reached a stage where they were capable of manufacturing medicines of international quality, and compete with multinational companies based in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asian Republics, in exports. The minister was further told that despite the fact that Pakistani enterprises were importing raw material from abroad, the medicines manufactured by them were cheaper than the products of multinational companies. He said that Pakistan could also help in the construction of new hospitals in Iraq, through competitive bidding against foreign companies. Dr Omed thanked the government and the people of Pakistan and praised the fact that despite restrictions, all possible assistance was being extended to Iraq. After a 2-day stay in Islamabad, Dr Omed will return to Karachi, on Sunday night, to hold a meeting with the Sindh health minister at his Sindh Secretariat office, on Monday. -APP -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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