Belarussian Minister Proposes Weekly Flights to Baghdad

Published December 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A Belarussian official flew into Baghdad on Wednesday and pledged to start regular flights between his country and Iraq despite the longstanding international air embargo. 

"Belarus is determined to open an air link with Iraq and organize weekly flights to Baghdad," Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Zametalin said. 

"There's no UN Security Council resolution preventing such flights," Zametalin said, echoing Baghdad's position on the US-backed embargo. 

Zametalin was greeted on his arrival to Baghdad by an Iraqi delegation that included Finance Minister Hekmat al-Azzawi, who paid a visit to Minsk in July. 

Belarus has long called for an end to the Iraqi air embargo, and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko sent a message in February to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein calling for increased economic ties between the two countries. 

Several dozen flights have landed at Saddam International Airport since its August reopening, after having been closed to private aircrafts since an embargo was imposed following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. 

Belarus' big neighbor Russia has led the anti-embargo flight campaign, with Russian airlines calling for a resumption of direct Moscow-Baghdad air routes. 

Egypt's national airline EgyptAir said Tuesday it will launch a weekly charter flights to Baghdad after Muslim holidays next week -- BAGHDAD (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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