Iraq Pre-empts Sahhaf-Annan Meeting by Calling for Lifting Sanctions, Removing Israel’s Tabooed Weapons
On the eve of a meeting by Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Saeed Sahhaf and UN chief Kofi Annan, Iraq reiterated its demand of a complete lift of the decade-old sanctions imposed on it and full implementation of UNSC resolution 687, which stipulated the elimination of mass destruction weapons in the Middle East, said reports.
At a presser on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz told reporters that Iraq would demand the total lifting of the embargo and implementation of article 14 of (UN Security Council) resolution.
"We have fulfilled our obligations (on disarmament), even if they are unjust ... and it is now incumbent on the Security Council to fulfill its (obligations) towards Iraq," by lifting the embargo, he was quoted by AFP as saying.
The United Nations, with whom dialogue is to resume in New York on Monday, "has done everything against Iraq but they have ignored Israel, the Zionist entity which has all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and others," protested Aziz.
The deputy prime minister was speaking at Baghdad airport as Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian flew in at the head of a 75-member delegation. Armenia has opened its embassy in Baghdad, according to reports.
However, Aziz made no remarks on the Gulf War, whose end was celebrated by Kuwait the same day, or the current visit by US State Secretary to the region, said BBC correspondent in Baghdad.
The official Baghdad press, meanwhile, rejected US and British efforts to draw up a program of "smart" sanctions targeting the Iraqi leadership to replace the crippling UN embargo in force since Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990.
"The new black comedy called clever sanctions are designed to appease the world opinion without solving any of the problems created by the UN sanctions," said the English-language Baghdad Observer, cited by AFP.
"Clever sanctions' real aim is to permit the oil multinationals to exploit Iraq's oil while the UN keeps control over the oil revenues," the paper said – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)