Baghdad Calls on Arab Leaders to Break Air Embargo

Published June 27th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Iraqi Foreign Minister, Mohammad Said Sahhaf, has called on Arab leaders to break the unofficial air transport embargo on Iraq by flying in to the country, the weekly magazine Al-Rafidain reported Tuesday. 

"We call on them to do that because such a move is part of their duty toward Iraq, which has always fought in the name of the Arab nation," Sahhaf said. 

He added that "every Arab leader that makes such a gesture will gain in popularity." 

The minister pointed out that United Nations Security Council resolution 670, which imposed sanctions on Iraq in 1990 in reaction to the country's invasion of Kuwait, "does not prohibit civilian flights destined for or proceeding from Iraq, and simply provides for a verification of goods" carried on flights to Iraq." 

However, "the United States, thanks to its omnipotence and its tyranny, has prohibited" civilian flights to the country, he said. 

In April, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said the embargo against Iraq has "no legal existence," because there is no Security Council resolution that specifically envisions such an embargo. 

That was the first time that France has spoken in such a clear-cut fashion on this issue, contrary to its position over the past 10 years. 

While recognizing the existence of a de facto embargo since 1990, the French official nonetheless said that nothing prohibits the transport of passengers in cases where economic or financial transactions are not involved. 

On April 3rd, a small private Italian airplane carrying people opposed to the embargo of Iraq became the first aircraft to land in Iraq without first obtaining UN authorization - BAGHDAD (AFP)  

© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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