The "smart" sanctions proposed by Britain and the United States would spell the end of the oil-for-food program between Iraq and the United Nations, Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Sunday, June 24.
"These stupid sanctions are an abrogation of the oil-for-food accord signed by Iraq and the United Nations," said Ramadan, quoted by the official news agency INA. "It's a violation of international law because the terms of the accord can only be modified with the consent of the two parties," he said after a meeting with Tunisian Trade Minister Tahar Siud.
Official newspapers, meanwhile, urged Arab states to join forces to oppose the US-British bid to impose smart sanctions in place of the embargo slapped on Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1990.
"The Arab League must convene a meeting of foreign ministers from member states to announce a unanimous position against the US-British plot of so-called smart sanctions," said Ath-Thawra, organ of the ruling Baath party.
"The Arab League must issue a statement rejecting the new stupid sanctions and calling for the lifting of the embargo that has been eating away at Iraq for 11 years," it said.
The silence of Arab countries over the proposed revision of sanctions "encourages the American administration to continue its efforts to adopt its criminal and treacherous proposal," it added.
Al-Qadissiya, another official daily, called on Iraq's "friends" in the Security Council and its neighbors to "clearly express their opposition to this evil proposal." "It is obvious to everyone that the Security Council and the United Nations, represented by Secretary General Kofi Annan, are colluding over the US-British proposal," the paper said.
Britain has circulated a draft resolution that would abolish curbs on civilian trade with Iraq, but tighten a weapons ban and controls on smuggling outside the oil-for-food deal.
In protest at smart sanctions, Iraq on June 4 suspended more than two million barrels per day of oil exports under the deal, which authorizes UN-supervised exports to finance imports of essential goods.
The Security Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on Iraq on June 26, ahead of a planned vote on smart sanctions before a July 4 renewal of the oil-for-food deal. ― (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)