Yemeni Flight Lands in Baghdad
The sanctions-busting Yemeni plane landed in Baghdad on Friday after a stop over in Amman, Al Jazira satellite TV reported Friday.
The flight was delayed because the Saudi authorities had refused to give it the permission to fly over the kingdom, and forced the aircraft back, but finally gave the permission.
It is the second Arab flight to sanctions-hit Baghdad in three days after a break of more than a decade, following a Royal Jordanian plane which arrived Wednesday at Saddam International Airport.
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz, who has said the sanctions are crumbling under the weight of "plane diplomacy", was in the welcoming party, according to AFP.
The Yemeni government, which was sympathetic to Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf War triggered by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, has repeatedly called for a lifting of UN sanctions, said the agency.
"Nobody can oppose our humanitarian action, which is not a violation of international law, especially as Security Council members Russia and France have sent similar flights," said Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel Qader Bajammal.
Apart from an Jordanian flight, three Russian and one French plane have landed in Baghdad since mid-August despite strong US condemnation.
Iraq has been under international sanctions since its August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But the UN Security Council is divided over interpretation of the air embargo.
Meanwhile, a flight from Paris to Baghdad planned for Friday, which was intended as a symbolic protest against UN sanctions on Iraq, has been cancelled, one of its organizers said, quoted by AFP.
"The plane cannot take off," said Father Yves Buannic.
He condemned the "cowardice of the French government and the responsibility of the Belgian authorities in the failure of our humanitarian operation, which was to have expressed our solidarity with the Iraqi people against one of the biggest injustices of this century.”
The organizers were unable to reach agreement with Belgian company Bruxelles International for the charter of the aircraft, which was to have taken about 100 European personalities to Baghdad
Paris and Moscow, along with Beijing, say the sanctions do not cover private non-commercial flights and that the UN committee overseeing sanctions only needs to be notified.
The United States and Britain, however, insist on authorization from the sanctions committee – (Several sources)
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