Iraq's ambassador to Jordan, Sabah Yassin, praised Jordan's call for a halt in Lloyd's inspections of Iraqi imports through the Jordanian port of Aqaba, in statements published Wednesday.
"Iraqi trade through Aqaba port is expected to increase and subsequently there will be an increase in bilateral trade between the two countries," Yassin told Al-Dustour newspaper.
"All of Iraq welcomes this decision because it touches the interests of both Iraq and Jordan," the ambassador said.
Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb has said his government informed the British insurers Lloyd's "of its decision decision to put a halt to its mission" of inspecting Iraqi imports transiting through Aqaba.
Abu Ragheb, in statements carried by the Jordan press on Wednesday, did not say when this decision becomes effective and called anew for a lifting of the UN embargo in force against Iraq ever since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
The United Nations has since June 1993 tasked Lloyd's with inspecting goods bound for Iraq via Aqaba, Jordan's only outlet to the sea, to ensure only authorised goods are being delivered.
Jordan is arguing that the Lloyd's mission is an obstacle to an ambitious project due for launch in early 2001 to set up a special economic zone in the Red Sea port of Aqaba aimed at attracting foreign investment.
The Lloyd's mission is costing cash-strapped Jordan 2.5 million dollars a year, according to the newspaper Jordan Times.. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)