Baghdad Accuses Kuwait of Boarding Three Ships in Iraqi Waters
Iraq accused Kuwait Tuesday of having boarded three ships in Iraqi territorial waters in acts of "armed aggression" against its sovereignty, the official INA news agency reported. In the meantime, Iraq protested to the UN the US-British aggressions on its territories.
The charge against Kuwait is contained in a message sent by Foreign Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the agency said.
Kuwaiti warships boarded two ships on March 22, the message said, naming one as the Panamanian-flagged Alwan with 18 crew on board, and the other the Honduran-flagged Umm al-Banin, with 13 crew members.
The following day Kuwaiti ships entered Iraqi territorial waters and boarded the Ar-Rahman, flying the Belize flag, with 18 crew members, it said.
"The entry of Kuwaiti war ships into Iraqi territorial waters and the boarding of ships is a flagrant violation and aggression of Iraqi sovereignty," Sahhaf said.
"We call on you to intervene to prevent" these acts, he added, stressing that "Iraq reserves the right to respond to such behaviour in the future in an appropriate way."
Iraq has frequently accused Kuwait of acts of "piracy" against its ships in the Gulf, while Kuwait periodically announces that it has seized Iraqi ships carrying goods in violation of the international sanctions imposed on Baghdad for its 1990 occupation of Kuwait.
IRAQ PROTESTS TO UN OVER US, BRITISH AGGRESSIONS
Iraq has lodged protests to the UN over the continued US and British aggressions against the country, saying that a total of 295 Iraqi civilians have been killed in their bombings from December 1998 till last Thursday.
In two letters to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and president of the UN Security Council, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahaf said that the regular bombardments on Iraq by US and British warplanes have also injured 860 others over the period, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported on Tuesday.
On April 6, 14 civilians were killed and 19 others injured in the bombings, one of the heaviest casualties Iraq has suffered since December 1998, when the US and Britain launched the four-night Operation Desert Fox air strikes against Iraq.
Sahaf stressed that the US and Britain used internationally-banned weapons containing depleted uranium during their attacks against Iraq, causing great harm to the health of the Iraqi people as well as the environment.
"Iraq will preserve its full right to adopt necessary measures for defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Iraq, in addition to demanding compensation for the human and moral damage Iraq has sustained due to such aggressive acts," said the foreign minister.
Iraq has been constantly sending letters to the UN and the Arab League, protesting the US and British bombings and airspace violations by the two countries over the two so-called no-fly zones and demanded their intervention to halt such aggressions.
The no-fly zones were imposed on Iraq by the US -led Western coalition after the 1991 Gulf War, with the claimed aim of protecting the Kurds in the north and the Shiite Muslims in the south from what they called possible persecution from the Iraqi government troops – (Agencies)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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