Baghdad to Open Four New Embassies in Former Soviet Union
Iraq will soon open four new embassies in the former Soviet Union, as the sanctions-hit state breaks out of its decade-old economic and political isolation, the official INA news agency reported Sunday.
"Four embassies will be opened in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan," Foreign Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf told parliament late Saturday.
Iraq, which currently has 62 embassies worldwide, said last month that it had also appointed for the first time an ambassador to South Africa, Zuhair al-Omar.
Baghdad has launched a diplomatic campaign over recent months to boost its cooperation with several countries around the world to help reduce the impact of the sanctions regime imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Sahhaf described Baghdad's relations with Gulf monarchies as "excellent, with the exception of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait who finance US-British attacks" on Iraq.
Iraq has almost daily confrontations with US and British fighter planes, patrolling no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq, in force since the end of the 1991 Gulf War, declared to protect Iraq's northern Kurdish and southern Shiite populations.
Iraq has never recognized the no-fly zones, which were not part of the UN Security Council resolutions imposing economic sanctions on Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait in 1991.
Since the end of the US-British Desert Fox bombing campaign against Iraq in December 1998, 316 Iraqis have died and 949 have been injured, according to Baghdad -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)