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News, 19-25/8/01 (1)

News, 19-25/8/01 (1)

An exceptionally uninteresting choice of articles this week. The allied
strike (No Fly Zones) just before I sent this off seems to confirm last
weekšs analysis that this is part of a longer strategy - a
series of small scale strikes possibly leading up to something very much
bigger. Britain is attempting to prevent Iraq garnering oil revenue outside
the UN escrow account by imposing what I assume must be a much more
complicated pricing mechanism. We want prices negotiated every 10 days; the
US is talking about every 15 days. No one else seems to care very much. Its
lonely at the top. The one article I do recommend is the piece on the
apparently impressive work that is being done by the International Committee
of the Red Cross (ŒInside Iraqš, in part 2).


*  Generous present for Hussein
*  Missing prisoner talks without US, UK: Iraq
*  Syria's Assad ends Kuwait trip
*  Iran to evacuate cargo of sunken Iraqi oil tanker in Persian Gulf
*  Iraqi [Izzat Ibrahim] calls Jews sons of monkeys and pigs
*  Iraqi Official to Yemen for Talks on Signing Free Trade Agreement
*  Iraqi vice-president in surprise visit to Syria
*  Iraq urges UN to hand over file on missing Kuwaitis [to the red Cross]
*  Iran's "Basij" forces wind up war games in western borders
*  Iraq seek Arab support over release of euros to Palestinians
*  Iraq, Libya to start regular flights
*  Al-Assad might visit Baghdad in September
*  Iraq, Jordan seek constructors for pipeline
*  Syria urges Turkey to join water talks with Iraq
*  UAE exporters face big hurdles at Iraqi port
*  A comprehensive interview with "Asharq Al Awsat" [by Prince Sultan Ibn
Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Aviation
and Inspector General - short extract, denying that planes used in raids on
Iraq take off from Saudi Arabia]
*  Iraq blasts Kuwait's rejection of new panel on Gulf War missing
*  Iraq asks Jordan to return its aircraft
*  Iraq warns against widened Mideast conflict [concerning Israel]

*  A fruitful visit by President Bashar Al-Assad to Kuwait {interviews with
Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al
Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and Information Minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahd Al Ahmad
Al Sabah]
Ain-al-yaqeen (Saudi Arabia)
August 24, 2001

AND IN NEWS, 19-25/8/01 (2):


*  U.S., Ally Part Ways on Iraqi Oil [Tonto, being less dependent than his
master on Iraqi oil, plays the tough guy]
*  Iraq could increase oil output to ten million barrels a day
*  Bula [Irish oil company] wait for ratification of Iraq contract
*  U.S. Devises Iraqi Oil Proposal
*  Opec leakage rises in July to 720,000 bpd
*  Britain lifts block on Iraqi oil price [Tonto is pulled back into line]
*  Price turmoil [caused by Tontošs tough guy stance] 'may hit Iraq Aug.


*  US leads race to arm developing world [and how. $7.7bn as opposed to
scary Chinašs $400m. Scary Russia isnšt even in the running]
*  Bush tested as he seeks to balance policy on Israel and Iraq [a very dull
article which I only include because of the dearth of general discussion
pieces this week]


*  Iraq: 1 Person Hurt in Allied Strike


*  Sanctions fire Iraqi World Cup bid
*  Bahrain 2, Iraq 0 in Soccer
*  WHO to Meet Iraqi Officials on Uranium Health Study
*  ICRC [Red Cross] in Iraq: Key facts and activities


*  Brazil to Resume Relations with Iraq


News 24 (South Africa), 19th August
Baghdad (AFP): A group of Arab businessmen visiting Baghdad on Saturday gave
a Boeing 747 to Saddam Hussein, the second such gift received by the Iraqi
president in less than two years, the official INA agency said.

The gift was an expression of "gratitude" to Saddam and a show of
"solidarity towards the Iraqi people", which has been under an UN embargo
for 11 years.

Saddam Hussein hailed the gift by the businessmen he met in Baghdad, saying
the "symbolic" gesture bore witness to their "rejection of the situation"
caused by the sanctions imposed on the Baghdad regime following its 1990
invasion of Kuwait.

INA said that among the generous businessmen were two from the UAE, two
Egyptians, one Moroccan, one Lebanese and one Jordanian. It did not disclose
their identities.

Saddam Hussein first received a 747 in November 1999 from a member of
Qatar's ruling family, Sheikh Hamad bin Ali bin Jabr al-Thani, who owns the
UAE-based Gulf Falcon plane leasing company.

The Qatari long-haul aircraft is currently used by Iraqi Airways on domestic
flights between Baghdad and Bassorah or Mosul, which resumed at the end of
1999 for the first time since the end of the 1991 Gulf War.

Since the war, Iraqi Airways planes have been grounded in airports in the
Gulf, Jordan, Tunisia and Iran.

Times of India, 19th August

BAGHDAD (AP): Iraq has said it will resume talks on the whereabouts of
hundreds of people missing since the 1991 Gulf War, as long as the United
States and Britain are not at the negotiating table.

In a letter sent to the United Nations, Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri
said the US and Britain "put hurdles" in front of earlier negotiations on
the issue. Iraq withdrew from talks in February 2000.

The letter was carried by the official Iraqi news agency on Saturday.

Kuwaiti government officials were not immediately available for comment, but
Kuwait has long-supported US and international involvement in resolving the

Iraq and Kuwait still claim each country holds prisoners from the 1991 Gulf
War. Baghdad says Kuwait holds 1,142 Iraqis, while Iraq is accused of
holding some 600 Kuwaitis and other nationals.

To offset US and British participation in any talks, Iraq has suggested that
Russia, India and China join the international committee charged with
dealing with the missing prisoners issue.

Sabri renewed Iraq's willingness to cooperate with the international
committee of the Red Cross because it is "a neutral international party,"
and with countries that claim they have nationals remaining unaccounted for.

Sabri also sent a letter to a peak regional political body, the Arab League,
calling on it to establish its own committee to deal with the issue.

CNN, August 20, 2001

KUWAIT (Reuters) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Monday ended a
three-day visit to oil-rich Kuwait which focused on economic ties but
steered away from controversial fence mending with Iraq.

Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah told reporters that
Assad, on his first visit to Kuwait since assuming power last year, did not
discuss ways to resolve the 11-year enmity between Kuwait and former
occupier Iraq.

The two sides discussed economic cooperation but "we did not discuss the
Iraqi issue," he said.

Assad, who arrived Saturday, was due to leave Sunday but extended his stay
by a day, triggering fresh media speculation that he might tackle the
complex issue of narrowing differences between Kuwait and Iraq despite
official denials.

"They were successful talks on bilateral ties but as far as Syrian mediation
is concerned, we did not discuss anything" relating to rapprochement with
Iraq," the sheikh said.

A Kuwaiti source close to the talks told Reuters: "The Iraq issue was
lightly passed over as part of a general review of the Arab world."

The Kuwaiti and Syrian leaders discussed boosting investments in Syria by
Kuwait and Kuwaiti businessmen, among other matters. In recent years Kuwait
has given soft loans to Syria estimated at more than $1 billion.


Also Monday, Kuwait dismissed a Baghdad proposal to form an Arab committee
to resolve the sticky issue of people missing since the 1990-91 Gulf crisis,
saying it was a U.N. matter.

Kuwait "discusses this issue according to United Nations Security Council
resolutions and not the Arab League," the sheikh told reporters at the
airport. Kuwait accuses Iraq of holding some 600 people, mainly Kuwaitis,
since the crisis.



Bushehr, Aug 20, IRNA (Iranian News Agency): The Iranian Ports and Shipping
Organization's Director General for Environment Safety, Hassan Teimourtash,
said on Monday that Iran will evacuate the cargo of an Iraqi oil tanker
which sank in the Persian Gulf for unknown reason on August 5.

He said that the IPSO has entered into a contract with a private company to
transfer the cargo of the Iraqi oil tanker from the Persian Gulf.

Teimourtash told IRNA that the oil tanker carrying 1,900 tons of heavy fuels
sank 45 miles west of Kharg Island in the southern Bushehr province.
Unfortunately about 100 tons of the fuels spilt to the waters of the Persian
Gulf, causing pollution.

"Immediately, after the the oil tanker sank in the Persian Gulf, Kuwait and
Iran dispatched rescue ships to the area so that the Iranian and Kuwaiti
ships initiated measures to stop oil slicks in the waters of the Persian
Gulf and prevent further environmental pollution. Qatar also took action in
this respect," he said.

He expressed concern about the dangers posed by oil slicks to marine species
and said that the Iranian Ports and Shipping Organization will do its best
to safeguard the environment of the Persian Gulf.

Irish Times, 20th August

A leading Iraqi official described Jews as the sons of monkeys and pigs
today and called at an international conference of 350 Islamic clerics for
the destruction of Israel.

Mr Izzat Ibrahim, vice-chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council
representing President Saddam Hussein, said: "We demand from the Islamic and
Arab nation to rise quickly to expel the sons of monkeys and pigs, strangers
on the land."

Iraq's official press regularly portrays Muslims and Arabs as morally
superior to Jews, calling for war to regain Israeli-occupied land and
portraying Baghdad as the standard bearer of Arab honour in the struggle
with Israel.

The conference secretary-general, Abdelrazzaq al-Saadi, told reporters the
Iraqi government sponsored conference would urge Arab countries to open
their borders for volunteers who want to fight Israel.

The conference has drawn clerics from such regions as Chechnya, Africa and
the Far East to discuss support for a Palestinian uprising against Israel's
34-year-old occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Iraq has given financial aid to victims of the Palestinian revolt, raising
its standing among the Arab population of Gaza and the West Bank. The
government says seven million Iraqi citizens have volunteered for an army it
formed to liberate Jerusalem.

Iraqi television regularly shows lightly armed soldiers training for what it
calls the Jerusalem Army. But to reach enemy territory they would have to
cross Jordan, which is at peace with Israel, or Syria, which for years has
not engaged in direct military confrontation with Israel.

Last week Saddam ordered mass demonstrations in support of the Palestinian
revolt. Tens of thousands of Iraqis took to the streets.

The Palestinians and Israel blame each other for the bloodshed that began
nearly 11 months ago.

People's Daily, 20th August

Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan left for Yemen Sunday for talks on
signing a free trade agreement between the two Arab countries.

Upon his departure, Ramadan told the official Iraqi News Agency that during
the visit, he will discuss with the Yemeni side issues concerning the
signing of the free trade agreement.

"I am confident that the visit will achieve fruitful and positive results,"
he said.

Iraq has already signed free trade agreements with Egypt and Syria, in an
effort to break the 11-year-old United Nations economic embargo, imposed on
it after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Ramadan added that he will also explain Iraq's position on the sanction
regime to Yemeni officials.

"Iraq will not accept any proposal that does not include the total and
unconditional lifting of the embargo," he said.

Yemen, which sided with Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, has called for the
lifting of the embargo.

Last March, then Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdul
Qader Ba Jammal, who is now prime minister, visited Baghdad, becoming one of
the highest-ranking officials of the Arab world to visit the embargo-hit
country since the Gulf War.

CNN, 21st August

DAMASCUS, Syria (Reuters) -- Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan
arrived in Damascus on Tuesday on a previously unannounced visit for talks
with Syrian leaders, officials said.

Ramadan's arrival came 24 hours after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
concluded a visit to Kuwait during which media reports speculated that Syria
was trying to narrow differences between Kuwait and Iraq.

Kuwaiti officials denied the report but Syrian officials said all issues,
including the Iraq Kuwait dispute, were discussed during Assad's visit to

Ramadan visited Damascus 10 days after Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed
Mustafa Mero visited Baghdad. The Iraqi vice-president was accompanied by
several other top government officials.

Officials said the talks would cover several issues including bilateral
economic cooperation.


Times of India, 22nd August

BAGHDAD (AFP) : Iraq urged the United Nations on Tuesday to hand over the
file on Kuwaitis missing from the 1991 Gulf War to the International
Committee of the Red Cross, the official INA news agency reported.

In a letter published by INA, Iraqi Foreign Minsiter Naji Sabri called on UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan to "pass the issue of the missing Kuwaitis to
the ICRC, a neutral body empowered to work together with the different
parties concerned."

"The insistence of the United States and Britain to leave this business in
the hands of the UN Security Council is aimed at allowing them to use it as
a tool of political pressure on Iraq.

"The use of UN bodies to harm Iraq is regrettable. It violates the UN
charter and encroaches upon the prerogatives of the secretary general," said
Sabri, who said Monday that Baghdad was ready for direct talks with Kuwait
on those missing.

Baghdad has boycotted the multinational committee meetings held under ICRC
auspices since the United States and Britain waged an air war on Iraq in
December 1998, insisting on the exclusion of the Western powers.

Kuwait says more than 600 of its and other countries' nationals disappeared
during the Iraqi occupation from August 1990 to February 1991, and claims
the missing are still being held in Iraq.

Iraq has admitted taking prisoners, but said it lost track of them during
the Shiite Muslim uprising in southern Iraq after the country's retreat from

Iraq meanwhile says that 1,555 Iraqis have disappeared or are being held in


Sanandaj, Kurdestan prov. Aug 23, IRNA (Iranian news agency): Iran's
volunteer Basij forces wound up on Wednesday days of war games in the
western borders in the Kurdestan province.

The games, codenamed Nasr (victory) 9, were conducted with the participation
of 1,900 forces to prepared them for confrontations with the "probable enemy

The last stage of the games was held on a 100-square-kilometer plot of land
in the city of Bijar, in which the forces carried out lightning operations
on the hypothetical enemy. The use of advanced arms as well as new military
tactics were also examined.


Times of India, 23rd August

CAIRO (AFP): Iraq called on the Arab world Wednesday to support its
initiative to provide one billion euros ($920 mn) in aid to the
Palestinians, an Arab League statement said.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri made the request in private talks with
Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa on the sidelines of a meeting here
of Arab foreign ministers to discuss the Middle East crisis.

"Arabs are invited to raise this issue at the highest levels, because the
present danger threatens not only the Palestinians but the entire Arab
nation," the League said Naji told Mussa.

Last Saturday, Sabri sent a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urging
an immediate agreement to allow sanctions-slapped Iraq, under UN
supervision, to purchase medical and humanitarian supplies for the
Palestinian people.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announced his intention in December 2000 to
deliver, from Iraq's supervised UN oil-for-food programme, one billion euros
to support the Palestinian uprising, or intifada.

The UN has never given its permission to do so.

Iraq has been subjected to UN supervision of its oil sales since late 1996,
as an antidote to the debilitating effects of economic sanctions slapped on
Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Times of India, 23rd August

BAGHDAD (AFP): Libya and Iraq intend to start regular flights between
Tripoli and Baghdad, a Libyan official said after a Libyan aircraft landed
here in defiance of a UN embargo.

"The arrival in Iraq of a Libyan plane is the prelude to the setting up of a
regular link between Baghdad and Tripoli, without waiting for anyone's green
light," said Abel Hamid Zentani referring to the UN sanctions committee.

Zentani, who is in charge of the Libyan social solidarity fund, told Iraqi
state television Wednesday: "We are in a single (Arab) house and when we
move around the rooms in this house we generally do not get anybody's

Zentani arrived on Tuesday on a Libyan plane carrying an 80-member
delegation and humanitarian aid.

An Iraqi official had said talks would be held on setting up a regular
weekly flight between Tripoli and Baghdad.

Dozens of aircraft, mainly from Arab countries, have touched down in Baghdad
in a bid to break the embargo imposed on Iraq by the United Nations since
the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Arabic News, 24th August

In a step which will be, if officially confirmed, the first for an Arab
president since the Gulf War of 1991 and also the first for a Syrian
President since 20 years, President Bashar al Assad will pay a visit to Iraq
in September, according to the United Arab Emirates UAE daily al-Itihad
issued on Thursday.

The paper quoted sources close to the Syrian interests office in Baghdad as
saying that the Syrian prime minister Muhammad Mustafa Miro had prepared for
the visit of President al Assad to Iraq during his visit to Baghdad by the
beginning of this month.

The same source indicated that there is " a Syrian initiative which is away
from limelight to settle the Iraqi- Kuwaiti " differences. Al-Assad, this
week paid a three day visit to Kuwait.

The Syrian charge de affairs in Baghdad Muhammad Hassan al-Tawab refused to
answer questions put by journalists to confirm these information by saying "
I apologize to answer this question." On Tuesday, the Iraqi vice President
Taha Yassin Ramadan held a surprising visit to Damascus upon the return back
of President Bashar al-Assad from Kuwait.

All these were after press reports indicated that there is a Syrian
initiative to maintain" good offices " between the two countries. A matter
which was denied by both Baghdad and Kuwait. Ramadan described his talks
with the Syrian president as " friendly and positive." The Iraqi news agency
quoted Ramadan as saying on Wednesday upon his return back to Baghdad that
he: " my meeting with President al-Assad was friendly and positive during
which discussions dealt with what was agreed upon during Miro's visit to
Baghdad and settling simple suspended matters with the aim of revitalizing
joint Arab works between the two countries.

Worldoil, 24th August

Iraq and Jordan will be looking for bidders in the next two months to seal
the construction of a joint oil pipeline, Jordan's trade minister has

"Preparations are under way, studies are going on and the contract will be
offered soon to construct the oil pipeline between Jordan and Iraq," Wasef
Azar told reporters at Baghdad airport.

"The decision is final and in a time that does not exceed one or two
months," he said.

Azar led the largest Jordanian trade delegation to Baghdad since the 1991
Gulf War, in which Jordan refused to stand by Kuwait in the face of the
Iraqi invasion.

It wasn't immediately clear if Jordan has sought or obtained a U.N. approval
for the installation of the pipeline. Along with most other Iraqi neighbors,
Jordan has criticized U.N. sanctions against Iraq and relies on the
oil-producer for its daily needs of about 105,000 barrels of crude oil and
15,000 barrels of petroleum products a day.

Jordan has been exempted from a U.N. ban on Iraqi oil, part of the sanctions
imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. A Jordanian-Iraqi trade
protocol allows Jordan to export food and other humanitarian goods to Iraq
in exchange for oil.

The planned pipeline is expected to stretch from Iraq's Haditha oil field in
the northwest to Jordan's sole refinery in Zarqa, 27 kilometers (17 miles)
northeast of the Jordanian capital, Amman.

Last week, Jordanian Energy Minister Mohammad Batayneh said Jordan and Iraq
were close to contracting a foreign firm to study the feasibility of the
750-kilometer (465-mile) pipeline with a projected cost of $325 million.

Azar and about 10 other Cabinet ministers are expected to discuss increasing
Jordanian agricultural and pharmaceutical exports to Iraq under a trade
exchange estimated at $450 million this year.

The visit comes amid complaints by businessmen that Iraqi exports to Jordan
didn't exceed $50 million since the beginning of the year. Government
officials attribute the humble figure to Iraqi demands that Jordanian
exports be completely of their national origin.

Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh told reporters that Jordan is No.
4 on the list of Iraq's trade partners. He didn't name any other countries.

Ankara, Reuters, 24th August

Visiting Syrian Irrigation Minister Taha al-Atrash urged Turkey on Thursday
to join water sharing talks with his country and Iraq - an issue that has
long troubled ties between the two Arab states and Ankara.

Baghdad and Damascus depend largely on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers,
which both originate in Turkey, for their drinking water and irrigation.

The Euphrates winds through Syria before entering Iraq, while the Tigris
flows straight to Iraq from Turkey - who Iraq and Syria have long accused of
not letting enough water through to their countries.

"We conveyed our views to the minister regarding the restoration of a
technical committee between (the three countries)," al-Atrash told reporters
in Ankara, referring to his meeting with Energy Minister Zeki Cakan.

Mustafa Yilmaz, the minister overseeing Turkey's southeastern irrigation and
dam project GAP, said before meeting the Syrian minister that Ankara would
act in line with the views of its Foreign Ministry.

Turkish officials say Ankara is not warm towards the idea of joining
three-party water talks until a long-standing territorial dispute with Syria
over the Turkish province of Hatay, to which Damascus retains a territorial
claim, is resolved.

Iraq and Syria agreed a water-sharing plan in January and called on Turkey
to join them in a three-way agreement. Iraqi protests have grown since 1996
when Turkey announced plans to build a fourth dam on the Euphrates.

Ankara and Damascus signed a provisional agreement in 1987 under which
Turkey allows the flow of 500 cubic metres per second to Syria. The Syrian
government has called for a permanent accord.

by C. L. Jose
Gulf News, 24th August

Dubai : The cargo discharge norms set by Iraqi port authorities' and the
lack of proper storage facilities at the country's Umm Qasar port are giving
serious problems to UAE exporters of foodstuff and other goods to Iraq under
the UN's oil-for-food programme.

Large volumes of foodstuff, cement, steel pipes, other building materials,
vehicles, etc are being exported to Iraq from Dubai ports in bulk as direct
exports as well as re-exports on a regular basis.

According [to] carriers in Dubai dealing with such exports, there are
occasions when the vessels had to return from the Iraqi port as port
authorities turned down the cargo.

In the last couple of months, two vessels - Holsatia, a time-chartered
vessel by Ocean Bulk Shipping with steel pipes, and the African Trader with
4,000 tonnes of cereals - had to cancel the discharge of cargo and leave
Iraqi waters.

Huge losses are said to be incurred by the shippers in many cases and it is
still not sure whether they could claim any insurance on this.

The shortage of berthing facilities and storage facilities at Umm Qasar on
the one side, and insistence by the authorities that all cargoes have to be
lab-tested before discharge on the other, leave the vessels waiting anchored
for even months together.

What makes matters worse is that the Iraqi port's discharge condition for
the vessels is, "discharge as fast as they can receive" which makes it
imperative on the part of the vessels to wait till the end-receiver receives
the cargo. Given the fact that the port doesn't have storage facilities, the
vessels naturally would have to wait till trucks are available.

Major carriers said that, normally, the condition should be "receive as fast
[as] the ship can discharge", in which case the ships will not be left with
the onus of waiting till the receiver can receive the cargo.

On several occasions, when cargo gets turned down in the Iraqi port, the
vessel would sail to a re-nominated destination where the cargo will be
discharged and held in the customs bond.

However, the vessels cannot claim detention charges, deviation charges,
demurrage, re nomination charges, etc from the end-receiver leaving the
shipper solely responsible to bear the brunt on all these counts.

On failure of the discharge of cargo to the receiver, the shippers normally
claim bills of lading back from the end-receiver to claim the cargo from the
carrier so that they can resell the cargo to somebody.

This helps the shipper recover at least a good portion of the loss thus
incurred. The shipper, in this case, would settle the demurrage and other
expenses with the vessels.

Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Aviation
and Inspector General]
Ain-al-yaqeen (Saudi Arabia)
August 24, 2001


Q: The Iraqi regime in Baghdad is always accusing Saudi Arabia and Kuwait
that US military aircraft carrying out strikes on Iraq set off from the
American airbases in both countries.. you at the same time deny these

A: The truth is that there are two sides to this issue. The first is that
planes flying from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are on air
surveillance and security missions only. They are not at all allowed to
conduct any military operations. Their aim is peace and they participate in
the stability of the region. Previously they played a role in preventing the
region from falling into conflicts when they discovered Iraqi military
movements that were misunderstood and drew the Iraqi attention and succeeded
to ask the other party for self - restrain. The other side of the issue is
related to the forces that undertake military operations and these are not
from the Kingdom and Iraq knows that very well, but unfortunately they think
that they can hide the truth but this inflicts damages on them more than it
does to the Kingdom.

Q: Is it possible that the Kingdom does not want to disclose that it takes
part in these air sorties?

A: Why do we have to do that. We are clear, when we had to face them after
the invasion of Kuwait we announced truthfully and clearly our intentions.
So why do we hesitate today when the situation is much easier. This is
unacceptable and untrue. The Kingdom has always adopted a clear policy and
our citizens have grown accustomed to that. Even when planes are blown up
because of a mistake we declare it. We have declared much more important
issues in the most difficult situations. As for the American forces they can
reach their targets from their naval bases in the Gulf or from their sites
in Europe, the Atlantic Ocean or anywhere else.

Q: It has been said that Iraq in the last Arab summit held in Jordan in
which you took part has withdrawn from signing a 9 points paper which was
enough to resolve its crisis with Kuwait..Do we understand from that, the
continuation of the strong Iraqi government stand and its refusal to
recognize the independence of Kuwait and respects its borders and its
sovereignty over its lands?

A: The position of the Kingdom in Amman Summit was more merciful to the
Iraqi people than its leadership. We have offered them everything and stood
with them in all matters, but the Iraqi government rejected our initiatives.
All the Arabs even those who sympathize with Iraq were surprised by the
Iraqi position. For us recognizing the sovereignty of Kuwait does not touch
Iraq or its dignity, it is only a proof of goodwill and support to solve the
situation. We pray to God to grant them the right guidance.

Q: It seems that Iraq wants the Arabs to work for lifting the sanctions..Do
you feel worried about lifting the sanctions imposed on Iraq?

A: If Iraq wants the Arabs to work for lifting the sanctions, why does it
refuse the recommendations that would have put an end to the present
situation! If Iraq had listened to the advises of its brothers in the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia war would have been avoided, if it listened to the
Saudi advises the sanctions would not have lasted for more than a year or
two. Saudi Arabia has absolutely no interest in imposing sanctions against
Baghdad or creating any political and military tension, on the contrary
Saudi Arabia has presented the recommendations to help Iraq and Iraq refused


Bahrain Tribune, 25th August

BAGHDAD (AFP): Iraq blasted Kuwait yesterday for rejecting Baghdad's
proposal to establish an Arab League follow-up committee on the issue of
prisoners-of-war and the Iraqis and Kuwaitis still missing since the 1991
Gulf War.

"The Kuwaiti leaders' rejection of the Iraqi proposal ... signifies their
rejection of the authority of the Arab League and its charter," Information
Minister Mohammad Al Sahhaf told Iraqi satellite television.

"Consequently, the Kuwaiti leaders no longer have the right to broach the
issue of missing Kuwaitis in the Arab League or with other Arab countries,"
he said.

Kuwait's Foreign Minister Shaikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah rejected Baghdad's
proposal on Monday, saying the emirate would only address the issue within
the framework of UN Security Council resolutions.

"Kuwaiti leaders are using this humanitarian issue for a suspect political
end to exacerbate tension and spirit of hate," Sahhaf said, urging Kuwait to
"co-operate with the International Committee of the Red Cross on 1,142
missing Iraqis."

Baghdad has boycotted the ICRC-brokered committee meetings since the US and
Britain waged an air war on Iraq in December 1998.

Since then, Iraq has insisted on the ouster of British, French and US
representatives from the meetings. Saudi Arabia also takes part in the

Kuwait maintains more than 600 of its and other countries' nationals
disappeared during the Iraqi occupation from August 1990 to February 1991,
and claims the missing are still being held in Iraq.

Iraq has admitted taking prisoners, but said it lost track of them during
the Shi'ite uprising in southern Iraq after the country's retreat from
Kuwait in March 1991.


BAGHDAD, Aug. 25, Kyodo (Japan): Iraq on Saturday urged Jordan to return its
planes kept in Amman since the 1991 Gulf War when Baghdad flew its civil and
some military aircraft to Jordan, Iran and Tunisia and Mauritania to avoid
their destruction in air raids, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA)

The request was made by Iraq's Minister of Transport and Communications
Ahmed Murtadha Ahmed during a meeting in Baghdad with his Jordanian
counterpart Nader al Thahaby, who was visiting the Iraqi capital with four
other Jordanian cabinet ministers.

According to INA, the Iraqi minister told his Jordanian guest that ''the
planes have cost Iraq a lot of money paid for maintaining them in Amman''
and that there was ''no U.N. resolution banning their return.''

The Jordanian minister was quoted last week in Amman as saying his
government could not return the Iraqi planes because ''it was up to the U.N.
Security Council to decide their fate.''

The return of the planes is seen as a stumbling block in improvement of ties
between the two Arab neighbors.

Iraq appears to have had better success in pressing Jordan for a resumption
of commercial flights to Baghdad.

INA quoted the Jordanian minister as saying that Amman intended to launch
daily flights into Baghdad instead of the present three flights a week. Iraq
insists there is no U.N. resolution banning commercial flights to Baghdad.

Times of India, 25th August

CAIRO (AFP): Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri warned here on Friday against
a possible Israeli offensive on Lebanon and Syria, and called for an Arab
summit to be held "urgently".

"The aggression currently carried out against the Palestinians, could spread
to Lebanon and Syria", Sabri told the press before heading back to Baghdad
via Damascus.

"It is urgent to hold an Arab summit", he said, also stressing the "need to
provide economic and political assistance to the Palestinian people".

Sabri took part Wednesday in Cairo in an extraordinary meeting of Arab
foreign ministers on the Middle East conflict.

During the meeting, the Arab League ministers demanded the United States
stop supplying Israel with "offensive weapons".

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