UN Panel Examines Saudi Request to Open Border Crossing with Iraq
The UN sanctions committee on Iraq examined Friday a Saudi request to open the Arar border crossing with Iraq to "facilitate transportation of Saudi goods as part of the UN oil-for-food program," reported the Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA).
The agency quoted a letter addressed to the committee chairman, Saudi envoy to UN, Fawzi Shobokshi, said "this border crossing is equipped and ready for this activity."
The letter, which the committee examined for the first time since it was sent last October, also said the Saudi government would highly appreciate it if secretary-general Kofi Annan would "recommend in his report the opening of this border crossing under UN supervision."
Last Saturday, a Saudi transport firm signed a contract with Iraq for direct exports through the border crossing to Baghdad, AFP said.
Khaled bin Ibrahim al-Namlah, managing director of the Saudi Land Transport Co., told AFP the contract was signed with Iraq's General Land Transport Co. in the United Arab Emirates.
The Arar border crossing will be used and the service launched in a month's time after agreements have been sealed with Saudi exporters, he said.
The Arar crossing, shut since the Kuwait invasion, is opened once a year for Iraqi Muslims to travel to Mecca in western Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage, although Baghdad and Riyadh have not had diplomatic ties since the 1991 Gulf War -- Albawaba.com
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