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Re: iraq reaction


                                                         Iraq rejects
British proposal over easing

Iraq has spurned a British plan to downgrade UN sanctions and has
warned neighbouring states they should not back it either.

Britain put before the UN Security Council a proposal that amounts to the
first significant easing of the sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait
in 1990.

The plan allows Iraq to import all kinds of goods except those on a UN list
of military-related items.

It also permits commercial and cargo flights in and out of Iraq as long as
they are inspected at their departure points.

However, it seeks to tighten border controls around Iraq and to stop
Baghdad's efforts to gain control of its oil revenues through smuggling and
illegal surcharges.

In state-run editorials written before the British proposal was presented,
the Al-Qaddissiya and Al-Thawra newspapers said Iraq would not accept it.
The Baghdad government has long demanded the abolition of sanctions
and rejected anything less.

The British plan, which has US backing, has circulated among Iraq
neighbours in recent days.

"All Arab and other neighbouring countries are duty-bound to realise the
dangers entailed in the American game of smart sanctions," Al-Qaddissiya,
the armed forces' newspaper, said. Sanctions that seek to focus on military
imports and relieve the pressure on civilian needs are termed 'smart'.

Al-Thawra, the mouthpiece of the ruling Baath Party, warned those
countries which support the British proposal would be "the biggest losers if
they help Washington carry out its plans".

Britain says it has received a positive response from France, Russia and
China, as well as from Iraq's neighbours.

Last updated: 13:46 Thursday 17th May 2001

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