Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has ordered that a freeze on foreign currency funds belonging to Arab organizations based in Baghdad be lifted, a newspaper reported Sunday, April 8.
Al-Nassiriyah , quoting a central bank official, did not give details of the size of the funds, frozen by Baghdad as a result of the crippling UN embargo imposed on Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1990.
The paper added that hotels could now accept payment from foreign guests in Iraqi dinars or foreign currencies "according to their choice".
One cashier of a big hotel in Baghdad, however, told AFP that he had "not received this directive" which, according to the paper, came into force on Saturday.
The moves "are witness to the stability of the Iraqi economy and the desire of the authorities for an improved climate for economic activity," the central bank official said.
Baghdad argues that a UN 'oil-for-food' program brokered in 1996 to alleviate suffering under the embargo and allow Iraq to sell oil abroad in exchange for food and basic essentials does not meet the population's needs. — (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)