Belarus holds bilateral cooperation talks in Iraq
A Byelorussian delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Zametalin discussed "possibilities of bilateral cooperation" with Iraqi officials, the official INA agency reported. Zametalin and his delegation talked with Iraq's deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz, Foreign Minister Mohamed Said al-Sahhaf, and Trade Minister Mohamed Mahdi Saleh, on "ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation in various fields," the agency said.
The Byelorussian delegation arrived Wednesday on a direct flight from Minsk. On arrival, Zametalin said Belarus was determined to open an air link with Iraq and organize weekly flights to Baghdad. "There's no UN Security Council resolution preventing such flights," Zametalin said, echoing Baghdad's position on the US-backed embargo.
Belarus has long called for an end to the Iraqi air embargo, and Byelorussian President Alexander Lukashenko sent a message in February to Saddam Hussein calling for increased economic ties between the two countries.
Several dozen flights have landed at Saddam International Airport since its August reopening, after having been closed to private aircraft since an embargo was imposed following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Belarus' big neighbor Russia has led the anti-embargo flight campaign, with Russian airlines calling for a resumption of direct Moscow-Baghdad air routes. — (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)