Saudi Arabia Awaits UN Nod to Reopen Border with Iraq
Saudi Arabia is awaiting the green light from the United Nations to reopen its Arar border crossing with Iraq to ease the entry of humanitarian goods into the sanctions-hit country, a Saudi official said Tuesday.
"Riyadh is waiting for a nod from the United Nations to open a border post for Saudi products to go to Iraq under the UN oil-for-food program," said Abdel Rahman bin Abdullah al-Zamel, head of a center for promoting Saudi exports.
"The opening of the border crossing also needs the designation of a UN agent to oversee that the products in question fall under the oil-for-food program," Zamel told AFP.
Zamel put the figure of exports from Saudi private companies, which have transited through Jordan under the program at "more than 400 million dollars."
The program allows Baghdad, which has been under embargo since its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait that triggered the Gulf War, to export crude under strict UN control to buy food, medicine and other essential goods.
Iraq accuses Saudi Arabia and Kuwait of working with the United States and Britain to keep in place the sanctions regime.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait also draw fire from Baghdad for allowing US and British warplanes to fly from their bases to police the skies of southern Iraq, leading to frequent air raids.
Iraq has three land crossings to the outside world through Jordan, Turkey and Syria as well as a passenger ferry link with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain through Gulf waters.
The Arar border post between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, shut since the invasion of Kuwait, is opened once a year to allow Muslims to travel to Mecca for the annual haj pilgrimage – RIYADH (AFP)
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