Egyptians say FTA with Iraq not violating UN sanctions
Egyptian government sources have rejected criticism that the country’s recently signed free trade agreement with Iraq did in any way violate United Nations sanctions.
Speaking to Al-Ahram, an Egyptian government official said that the pact signed during Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan’s visit to Egypt was not a bilateral free trade agreement, but rather an executive protocol towards the establishment of Arab free trade agreements.
The source pointed out that in 1998, the members of the Arab League agreed to work towards the creation of an Arab free trade zone by 2007. It was decided then that, with the context of the overall goal, members could conclude bilateral and trilateral free trade agreements.
In the meantime, the Egyptian government source told Al-Ahram that Egypt would only trade with Iraq in accordance with the UN-sponsored oil-for-food program.
Iraq already has concluded a free trade agreement with Jordan and reportedly is close to concluding such a pact with Syria.
In a related matter, Egypt has still not made a decision regarding a request by Iraq that it reopens its commercial air link between Cairo and Baghdad. It is still early to decide on this matter, a diplomatic source told Al-Ahram.
Iraq, which is encouraging countries to resume their regular commercial flights to Baghdad claims that such activities would not be in violation of the UN sanctions, which it says does not to the suspension of commercial flights. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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