French, Iraqi Officials Meet in New York
French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tarek Aziz met in New York Monday but were unable to move beyond outlining their respective positions on UN sanctions against Iraq.
Vedrine told journalists after the talks that Iraq's position had not shown "signs of evolution" and that Baghdad must cooperate with a new UN disarmament commission for Iraq set up by UN Security Council Resolution 1284.
Baghdad has so far refused to cooperate with the UN body, demanding the lifting of the sanctions first.
However, Vedrine acknowledged the 10-year-old sanctions against Iraq, put in place after it invaded Kuwait, were having "extremely cruel consequences on the Iraqi population."
Earlier Monday, UN Security General Kofi Annan, in a report to the Security Council, said the Iraqi government was refusing to cooperate with a group of independent experts he had appointed to report on the humanitarian situation in Iraq.
Such a report, to be submitted by November 26, was provided for by Resolution 1302 adopted by the Security Council last June. The idea of preparing the report belongs to France and was backed by Russia and China - UNITED NBATIONS (AFP)
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