Jordan denied Wednesday, April 11, a US State Department announcement that Jordanian and US experts would meet to discuss a US initiative to redesign the international sanctions on Iraq.
"There are no scheduled meetings of experts with the United States or with any other party on the question of sanctions on Iraq," Information Minister Taleb Rifai told reporters when asked about comments made last week by US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.
"If Boucher made these remarks, I am able to tell you that it is not true and Jordan has not approved any such arrangement," Rifai said. Rifai stressed that "Jordan is in favor of the lifting of sanctions."
After a meeting last Wednesday between King Abdullah and US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Boucher announced the two sides had "agreed that there should be some expert discussions in the coming weeks" regarding the US plans to redesign sanctions to restrict the entry of military items to Iraq.
Iraq has lived under international sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Rifai also confirmed comments made in Washington Tuesday by Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdel Ilah Khatib that Jordan was planning to launch regular commercial flights to Iraq. Rifai said Jordan was pursuing the appropriate measures with the United Nations.
Khatib was quoted by the official Petra news agency as saying that "Royal Jordanian, which has already launched a number of (charter) flights to Baghdad, is on its way to taking measures to ensure the regularity of civilian flights to Iraq."
Meanwhile, King Abdullah called for a lifting of sanctions on Iraq and for a quick settlement of differences between Iraq and Kuwait in an interview published Wednesday in the Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat . King Abdullah returns to Jordan Saturday after a 12-day visit abroad to the US and Britain. — (AFP, Amman)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)