Minister: France loses priority in trade with Iraq
France will no longer be given priority in trade with Iraq because of its backing for US and British efforts to slap "smart" sanctions on Baghdad, Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammad Mehdi Saleh said Monday, July 9.
"From now on, France will no longer have priority in commercial transactions with Iraq because of its support for the project of 'stupid' sanctions," he said, quoted by the official news agency INA.
The minister said Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Russia would, in contrast, "be given priority ... in consideration of their rejection of the malicious US-British project".
"All the countries which supported the rights of Arabs will have priority in contracts and commercial transactions with Iraq" under the UN oil-for-food program, he said.
An official Iraqi newspaper, meanwhile, blasted China's "opportunism" over the proposals to revise the sanctions regime in force against Iraq since it invaded Kuwait in August 1990.
"What's surprising is the opportunism of China, which turned its back on relations and interests with Iraq," said Babel newspaper, headed by President Saddam Hussein's elder son, Uday.
Both China and France should "reconsider their position on Iraq", the paper said, adding it hoped they would not "lose their interests and the role the world expects them to play."
Russia was the only one of the five permanent Security Council members to voice opposition to the retooled sanctions, on which a vote was shelved last week after Moscow threatened to use its veto. ― (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)