The second Egyptian solidarity flight to Iraq in a week touched down on Tuesday at Saddam International Airport carrying a delegation of 100 MPs, doctors, intellectuals and actors. An EgyptAir flight arrived in Baghdad last Wednesday in a show of solidarity against decade-old sanctions and the air embargo.
The delegation, which arrived aboard an EgyptAir Boeing 737-500, was greeted by Iraqi Trade Minister, Mohamed Mehdi Saleh, and by Egyptians living in Baghdad, according to an AFP correspondent at the scene. The Egyptians carried a banner stating: "Yes to an embargo against Israel, no to an embargo against Iraq".
The United States said the Egyptian flight, as well as one from Syria, violated the air embargo after failing to seek approval of a UN sanctions committee. An aid flight from Bahrain was due to land in Baghdad later in the day, officials said.
A long list of Arab countries have also tested the embargo, following Russian and French flights, since the reopening of Baghdad's airport on August 17, while Iranian Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharazi, flew in on Friday.
Paris and Moscow say the air embargo on Iraq, as part of the sanctions regime, does not cover private non-commercial flights. Washington and London insist that all flights must be approved by a UN sanctions committee. — (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)