Iraqi Airways reopens Beirut offices
Iraqi Airways reopened its office in Beirut after a 10-year gap, as the state airline pursues its goal of resuming regular commercial links with Lebanon, official Tele-Liban television reported last week.
The office was shut down after the United Nations imposed an embargo on Iraq in retaliation for its invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.
Local representative Antoine Hani told Tele-Liban that "contacts are underway with Lebanese civil aviation authorities to resume commercial flights between Beirut and Baghdad."
Iraq's deputy transport minister, Jamil al-Takriti, said a month ago that Iraqi Airways was preparing plans to reopen several of its offices abroad and that a number of foreign airlines had expressed an interest in resuming business in Baghdad.
Iraqi Airways reopened its office in Damascus on November 26.
International support for the 10-year UN economic sanctions has been eroding, and the UN Security Council has become divided over how to interpret the sanctions as they apply to flights to and from Baghdad.
France, Russia and China — unlike the United States and Britain — insist that UN resolutions on Iraq do not call for an air embargo and that non-commercial flights be allowed on simple notification of the committee.
Iraqi Airways has already restarted internal flights, linking Baghdad with Mosul in the north and Basra in the south. — (AFP, Beirut)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)