Syrian FM criticizes UN sanctions in Iraq
Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq Al-Shara on Thursday, July 5, criticized UN sanctions against Iraq, saying they could cause long-term damage to the country's stability.
Speaking in London during a two-day official visit, he also criticized the joint British-US draft resolution put to the UN Security Council aimed at imposing a new regime of "smart" sanctions against Baghdad.
"I stressed how harmful it is, continuing to punish the Iraqi people," he said. "The continuity of sanctions might, in the near future ― not in the far future ― jeopardize, undermine the territorial integrity of Iraq."
The minister said he had passed on his feelings to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw during their meeting here Wednesday. The British-US proposal was scuppered by Russian opposition. Moscow has a veto on the Security Council.
Shara said his discussions with Straw had been "very useful, constructive and frank." Asked at a press conference if he though Britain was sticking too close to what the United States wanted, he provoked laughter by replying: "In general it is very difficult to understand British policy, but Mr Straw is a very nice person."
Instead, the UN voted to extend by five months the existing oil-for-food program, a move hailed by Baghdad as its own victory.
Iraq, which has been under United Nations embargo since invading Kuwait in August 1990 but is authorized to sell crude under the program, suspended oil exports on June 4 in protest at the proposed reforms, which would have made the sanctions more targeted. ― (AFP, London)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)