OPEC sovereigns and presidents were asked on Wednesday to demand an end of the multinational embargo against Iraq, which the Gulf country said affected market stability.
Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan made the request during an OPEC summit here, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he hoped participants would discuss the proposal.
"We invite you to strongly condemn this embargo," Ramadan said on the first day of the two-day summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC.)
Chavez said he would seek a green light from Ramadan to consult the participating heads of state on the issue.Dignitaries at the summit include Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.
"Lifting the embargo would be beneficial for market stability and for correct international relations," said Ramadan, who was attending the summit in place of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who has not left Iraq since the 1991 end of the Gulf war.
Ramadan said the embargo, which he said was essentially imposed by the United States, has "reached genocidal proportions," causing the death of millions of Iraqis, mainly children.
The multinational embargo was imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
The Iraqi official launched a bitter attack on the United States, which he said "continues to launch various types of wars against oil exporting countries."
"Iraq calls on consumer countries to stop their policies aimed at weakening OPEC," he said. He called for an end to what he termed "discriminating taxes on consumption of oil," echoing the sentiment of many OPEC members who say consumers should blame high prices on their governments and not on the oil cartel.
He also joined other dignitaries in calling for talks with consumers, something industrialized countries have requested.
"Iraq calls for a serious dialogue between producers and consumers to end these negative policies that are damaging to oil exporting countries," Ramadan said, insisting that Iraq had always sought "just prices" and "market stability."—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.