S. Arabia Denies Syria Has Reservations on Pipeline Plan
An official Saudi source in Riyadh on Friday denied Kuwaiti news reports that Syria had reservations about a Saudi proposal to pump Saudi oil via a particular pipeline, with some modifications to it, instead of using another one between Iraq's Kirkuk and Syria's Baniyas port.
Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rae Al Aam' recently reported that during a meeting between Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and President Bashar Al Assad of Syria, the Syrian side voiced reservations about the Saudi suggestion to re-pump Saudi oil through the pipeline passing through Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, after making some modifications to its path inside the Syrian territories.
The former plan would be implemented instead of operating the group of pipelines between Kirkuk and Baniyas.
In a statement to the official Saudi press agency (SPA), the Saudi source said called the Kuwaiti paper's account "completely untrue."
In a letter three days ago to the United Nations last Monday, Saudi authorities announced the seizure of Iraq's pipeline, which was built in the late 1980s at a cost of $2.2 billion to transport Iraqi crude to the Red Sea.
Saudi Arabia disconnected the pipeline after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, and it has not been used since.
In a letter to 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.
Shobokshi said "the just compensation due to the government of Iraq" for the seizure should be deducted from Riyadh's claims against Baghdad for damages and losses resulting from the invasion of Kuwait.
Iraq has denounced what it called the "hostile" action and informed the United Nations that it will demand compensation.
The Saudi decision came only one week after the kingdom alleged in a complaint to the UN that Iraq 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." – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)