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Iraq: Friends at UN Will Foil 'Evil U.S. Scheme' Nov. 1 — By Samia Nakhoul BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq said it was confident Friday that its friends on the U.N. Security Council would foil the "evil schemes" of the United States and Britain. Russia and France, both veto-wielding Security Council members, are trying to amend a tough U.S.-sponsored draft resolution intended to authorize Washington to use force to compel Iraq to disarm. "Iraq has announced its agreement to allow the return of U.N. weapons inspectors in response to the wishes of some friendly states to dismiss the allegations of the evil U.S. administration and its ally Britain," Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said in a speech opening a trade fair. "We are fully confident that these states will definitely stand by Iraq and oppose any draft resolution that the United States and Britain will try to pass through the Security Council in the future under any formula," he added. Iraq has agreed to let arms inspectors return after a four-year absence, saying it will give them unfettered access to sites where it is suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction. But the inspectors' return has been delayed by U.S. efforts to secure a tougher mandate authorizing the use of force if Washington deems Iraq to have failed to cooperate. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in Moscow that Russia and the four other permanent members of the Security Council had moved toward agreement on a new resolution. But he said Russia stood by its demand that Washington should seek later, explicit, U.N. authorization before using force. Speaking on behalf of President Saddam Hussein, Ramadan said Washington wanted to attack Iraq to gain control of its vast oil reserves and retaliate for its support of Palestinians waging an uprising against Israeli occupation. TRADE FAIR, WAR DRUMS Ramadan spoke at the opening of the 10-day-long Baghdad Trade Fair, in which 1,200 firms from 49 countries are taking part, despite the threat of war. He said the high turnout by Arab, European and Asian companies was evidence of the support and determination of the world to forge economic ties with his country. The official Iraqi News Agency (INA) quoted Ramadan as saying on the sidelines of the fair that the United States was trying to influence U.N. arms inspectors. "The evil U.S. administration is using dirty means to influence U.N. employees to change their stand toward agreement reached between the United Nations and Iraq in Vienna on the return of inspectors," INA quoted him as telling reporters. He was referring to a meeting in Washington Wednesday between President Bush and chief arms inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency. "America does not want the inspectors to return but it wants them to place hurdles ... to say that Iraq does not comply with international resolutions," he added. Ramadan said the United States had failed to break the Iraqi people despite 12 years of punitive U.N. sanctions imposed after Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The sanctions, which Ramadan said had cost the Iraqi economy $150 billion over the past 12 years, ban Iraq from trading freely with the rest of the world. Iraq is allowed to buy food, medicine and other essentials under a 1996 oil-for-food deal with the United Nations. Ramadan said this year's fair was the largest since the event resumed in 1995 for the first time since the 1991 Gulf War that ended Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. Saudi Arabia officially participated in the fair for the first time since the two Arab countries broke ties over the invasion of Kuwait. Among the main absentees were the United States and Britain. Iraq, a booming market for Western business before the 1991 Gulf War, has the world's largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia. Copyright 2002 Reuters News Service. _________________________________________________________ Meet new friends based on YOUR criteria! Search for friends based on hobbies, interest, or even location! Go to Maktoob Friends NOW. http://www.maktoob.com/ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk