China and Egypt Send Planes to Iraq, Defying UN Sanctions
More cracks showed in the United Nation's embargo on flights to Iraq Friday with the arrival of a Chinese plane carrying a 69-person government delegation.
Also arriving in the Iraqi capital was an EgyptAir flight, procuring Egypt's imminent resumption of weekly flights to Baghdad for the first time since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
China became the third permanent member of the UN Security Council, following Russia and France, to send a plane to Baghdad in defiance of the UN embargo on air travel to Iraq since Saddam International Airport reopened on August 17.
The Air China plane carried a load of humanitarian aid, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported when the aircraft left Beijing.
Also on board was an official delegation led by minister without portfolio Ismail Amat, who holds the rank of state councilor, as well as officials from other ministries including foreign affairs, health and foreign trade and economic cooperation. The group also included members of the Chinese Red Cross.
Amat told IRNA after the delegation's arrival that the visit would "contribute to the bolstering of warm relations and cooperation between the two countries."
The delegation is to spend three days in Baghdad.
The EgyptAir plane carried a humanitarian delegation of 150 people led by parliament member Imad Said Al-Jalda. The group also included doctors and artists.
EgyptAir had announced Tuesday that the company would start weekly charter flights to Baghdad following the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which will be celebrated December 26 and December 27.
Egypt has organized several humanitarian flights to Iraq in the past two months.
More than 80 flights have landed in Baghdad since mid-August despite an air embargo which forms part of UN sanctions imposed on Iraq for its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Relations between Egypt and Iraq have recently improved. On November 7, the two countries agreed to restore charges d'affaires to their respective capitals, one grade below ambassador. Baghdad and Cario had severed relations after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
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