Jordan has called for British insurers Lloyd's to halt its inspections of imports through the Jordanian port of Aqaba bound for sanctions-hit Iraq, Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb said Wednesday.
"The government has informed Lloyd's of its decision to put a halt to its mission and has given a date," Abu Ragheb said, quoted in newspapers, without disclosing the deadline or proposing an alternative method of inspection.
The prime minister also renewed calls for a lifting of the UN embargo in force against Iraq ever since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Jordan has said the Lloyd's mission was 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 United Nations has since June 1993 tasked Lloyd's with inspecting goods bound for Iraq via Aqaba to ensure only authorised goods are being delivered.
The arrangement was set up in agreement with Jordan's late King Hussein, who protested at delays caused by inspections out at sea of Aqaba-bound ships by Western navies enforcing the sanctions regime.
The Lloyd's mission is costing Jordan 2.5 million dollars a year, according to the newspaper Jordan Times. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)