Iraqi Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Hekmat Ibrahim met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo Monday, June 18, to explain Iraq's position on "smart" sanctions proposed by Britain and the United States.
Ibrahim told reporters after the meeting that he had discussed the possible effects of the new sanctions regime on Iraqi-Arab relations and Egyptian-Iraqi relations in particular.
Trade between Iraq and Egypt, Baghdad's third largest trade partner after France and Russia, is forecast to reach $2.5 billion in 2001 under the United Nations' existing oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq limited trade under 11-year-old sanctions, Egypt's charge d'affaires in Baghdad said Friday.
"Some of the points in the US-British plan seem to be in the interests of the Iraqi people, ... but we find that limiting some products of dual usage is aimed at tying Iraq to permanent sanctions and an American Mandate," he said.
Egypt, Syria and Jordan informed touring UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last week of their opposition to the revision of the sanctions regime imposed for Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, according to a senior UN official.
Iraq has warned its neighbors of a cut in trade and oil links if they cooperate with smart sanctions.
Iraq on June 4 suspended more than two million barrels per day of oil exports under a UN oil-for-food deal in protest at the new sanctions plan, which the Security Council aims to put to the vote by early July.
Britain has circulated a Security Council draft resolution that would abolish curbs on civilian trade with Iraq but tighten a weapons ban and controls on trade outside the UN humanitarian program. ― (AFP, Cairo)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)