Iraq Sees Saudi Seizure of Pipeline as ‘Hostile’ Act of Pressure
Iraq said Tuesday that Saudi Arabia's seizure of an Iraqi oil pipeline crossing the kingdom was a "hostile" act aimed at exerting political pressure on Baghdad, reported AFP.
"This problem could have been resolved amicably given that there is an accord (on the pipeline), but the Saudi leaders wanted to add a political dimension to exert pressure on Iraq," charged the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations.
Mohammad Al Duri, quoted by the official news agency INA, said the seizure was "a new act of hostility against Iraq" by the Saudi leadership.
"Iraq will exercise its full right to recover" the pipeline, the ambassador said, accusing Riyadh of serving "the United States as an instrument against Iraq."
For his part, Iraq's minister of state for foreign affairs, Naji Sabri, told AFP the Saudi move constituted an "act of piracy aimed at stealing the funds of the Iraqi people."
He said it came within the framework of what he called a "colonialist" British-US effort to convince the UN Security Council to revise the regime of sanctions imposed on Baghdad after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Riyadh told the United Nations in a letter released Monday that it had expropriated the 1.65 million barrel a day pipeline built to carry Iraqi crude oil across Saudi territory.
Saudi Arabia shut down the pipeline after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, and it has not been used since.
In a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the Saudi ambassador to the United Nations, Fawzi bin Abdul Majeed Shobokshi, said Iraqi threats of aggression had "destroyed any rationale" for maintaining the pipeline.
The letter was dated June 4, the same day as Iraq suspended more than two million barrels per day of UN-supervised oil exports in protest at US and British proposals to impose targeted sanctions on Baghdad.
The Saudi decision came only one week after the kingdom alleged in a complaint to the United Nations that Iraq had launched an attack on its border last month. But Iraq rejected the accusations.
Shobokshi had said that an Iraqi patrol crossed the border May 23 and traveled about 400 meters (yards) into Uwayqilah in Saudi territory, opening fire on the border patrol.
The Saudi troops retaliated, and in the exchange of fire "a number of Saudi soldiers were wounded," he told the UN.
"An Iraqi soldier found wounded was hospitalized and died a short time later of his injuries."
Baghdad regularly accuses Saudi Arabia and Kuwait of violating Iraq's borders by providing bases for US and British warplanes that enforce flight bans in the north and south of the country - Albawaba.com
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