Iraqi Minister: Smart Sanctions Will Hinder Arab Trade
Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammad Mahdi Saleh charged Saturday that the “smart sanctions” proposed by Britain and the United States aimed to hamper commerce between Baghdad and other Arab capitals.
“Among the objectives of the so-called smart sanctions is to block commerce between Iraq and Arab states so as to deprive the Arabs of bilateral cooperation and serve American-Zionist interests,” he said in Dubai, quoted by the Gulf Daily News.
The contracts between Iraq and 15 Arab countries since 1997 under the UN oil-for-food program amount to $10.645 billion, said Saleh.
On June 7, Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria signed an agreement in Baghdad to establish a common free trade zone. Iraq has since January also sealed bilateral free trade accords with Egypt, Syria and Tunisia.
Saleh, who met with Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said that Baghdad would defeat efforts at the UN Security Council to impose smart sanctions.
“Iraq will foil the US-British project and any other project which does not live up to Iraqs key demand for a lifting of the embargo in force since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait,” he said – Albawaba.com