Iraqi Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Hekmat Ibrahim on Wednesday, June 20, voiced confidence that US-British proposals for "smart" sanctions on Baghdad are not backed by any Arab country.
"Officially, there are Arab countries which have clearly stated their rejection of maintaining the embargo on Iraq and any (sanctions) formula that would increase the hardships imposed on the Iraqi people," Ibrahim told a press conference in Amman at the end of an Arab tour.
"I was informed of this position by Arab leaders whom I have met during my Arab tour," he said on the last leg of a three-nation visit to Syria, Egypt and Jordan where he outlined Iraq's steadfast rejection of the smart sanctions.
"The other countries, as far as we know, have not declared their support for this project, even Kuwait," Ibrahim said. "Other countries have said they were not concerned by this project and have adopted a neutral position," he added without elaborating.
The US-British bid to impose smart sanctions on Iraq to replace the sanctions regime which has been in place since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 "is still-born and will not be easily adopted" by the UN Security Council, Ibrahim said.
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 smuggling outside the UN oil-for-food deal.
Iraq, Ibrahim said, was determined to "count on itself and on the struggle of its people" to foil the adoption of the smart sanctions which are currently expected to come up for a vote at the Security Council by early July.
Egypt, Syria and Jordan informed 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. On Tuesday Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb, whose county relies heavily on Iraqi oil, confirmed that Amman was opposed to the smart sanctions and had notified the UN of this position.
Meanwhile Ibrahim said that since the oil-for-food deal went into effect in 1996, Iraq has sold $44 billion worth of oil but has only received $11.4 billion from the total. The rest of the funds were handed over to the UN mainly to compensate the parties affected by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Ibrahim said. ― (AFP, Amman)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)