Iraq's central bank has begun to buy European currencies, following Baghdad's decision to stop using the dollar, the INA agency reported. The central bank said in a statement Sunday that it was "disposed to buying European currencies against their equivalent in American dollars".
The statement said that "the currencies which will be bought are the French franc, the German mark, the Austrian schilling, the pound sterling, the Dutch florin and the Italian lira".
Baghdad, accuses Washington of maintaining the crippling sanctions regime imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Last month Iraqi finance minister, Hekmat Ibrahim al-Azzawi, announced the decision to ditch the dollar in foreign trade transactions.
"The dollar is the currency of an enemy state, and must be abandoned for other currencies, including the euro," Azzawi said. Azzawi urged other countries to snub the dollar, saying the United States was employing an "imperialist" economic policy in league with "Zionists" to weaken the economies of other countries in the world.
Iraq will work, in the framework of the Arab League, to "push through a similar Arab measure because it is in the interest of Arabs to renounce the currency of a country hostile to them," he vowed.
Iraq's cabinet, chaired by president Saddam Hussein, commissioned a team of economists on September 14 to prepare a study on the possibility of using the euro or any other currency in Iraq's trade instead of the dollar.
"The use of the dollar is one of the symbols of the influence and force of our enemy," the cabinet said, adding it was the "job of Iraq to combat the enemy in all fields possible." – (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)