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Iraq Report: January 13, 2003


13 January 2003, Volume 6, Number 1

NOTE TO READERS:
RFE/RL announces the launch of the "Tracking Inspections" webpage, which provides a comprehensive look at daily inspections in Iraq as reported by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and UNMOVIC and the IAEA. See it at: Tracking Inspections

IRAQ TO LODGE COMPLAINT AGAINST UN INSPECTORS. Iraqi Presidential Office Adviser Amir Al-Sa'di has said that Iraq will formally lodge a complaint with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan over the "inappropriate" questioning of UN weapons inspectors during site visits, Al-Jazeera TV reported on 9 January. Officials from the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate (NMD) complained that inspectors ask questions that are "irrelevant" to weapons of mass destruction, and deemed the questions instead to be "intelligence-related," Al-Jazeera reported. As a result, Al-Sa'di said in a meeting with South African peace activists that he will submit a complaint to UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) chair Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Muhammad al-Baradei during their upcoming visit, expected to take place around 20 January, according to Al-Jazeera. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SAYS CALLS FOR DIALOGUE IGNORED BY WASHINGTON. In an interview published on 8 January, Tariq Aziz told Istanbul's "Cumhuriyet" that Washington has ignored Iraq's and his own personal calls for dialogue over the last 12 years. Aziz said, "We are always ready for dialogue. We have always said this. I said this to President Bush Senior. We [Iraq] could not receive a response. We also said this during the Clinton period. I said that we want dialogue, but we could not receive a response. In the 1990s I went to the United States many times. I could not talk with a single official, a single senator, even with those who were my friends in the past. Yes, dialogue. We are always ready for dialogue. But the United States and England are not in favor of dialogue." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI NATIONAL MONITORING CHIEF ON COOPERATION, SCIENTISTS. Husam Muhammad Amin, director of the National Monitoring Directorate (NMD), said during a press conference on 2 January that inspections of 230 sites over the past five weeks have "proven the credibility of the Iraqi declarations and showed that there are no banned activities and no omitted paragraphs," Al-Jazeera television reported. Regarding the list provided to UN inspectors on 28 December of scientists involved in previous chemical, biological, and missile programs in Iraq, Amin said: "The lists are aimed at making sure these scientists work at sites that have nothing to do with their previous specialization and banned activities. The second aim of the list is to conduct interviews with some of the scientists to clarify some ambiguous things and alleged gaps." Amin said the scientists thus far have refused to be interviewed by UN inspectors without the presence of representatives of the NMD. "We believe that it is up to the person to decide the manner of the interview to guarantee his personal and human rights," he added. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER REQUESTS UN FACT-FINDING MISSION. Naji Sabri has sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Annan requesting a fact-finding mission to investigate U.S. "violations of international law" along the Iraq-Kuwait border, Iraq Radio reported on 7 January. The letter charges that the United States has escalated "aggressive and provocative acts" against Iraq and the UN peacekeeping forces that monitor the demilitarized zone along the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border. The Iraq Radio report did not specify what the foreign minister deems "violations," but Reuters reported on 7 January that Sabri's letter complained that "heavy armor estimated at 60 tanks and different military vehicles held a military exercise near the demilitarized zone on 5 January, which was monitored by the UN's Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM)." Sabri added, "The practice is another act [by the United States] to be added to the acts of terrorism and aggression, which include daily raids on Iraqi cities and villages in cooperation with Britain and financing and arming mercenaries and traitors to launch terrorist operations inside Iraq," Reuters reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI PRESIDENT DELIVERS ARMY DAY SPEECH. Saddam Hussein commemorated Army Day on 6 January, Iraq News Agency reported. In a prerecorded speech to the Iraqi people, Hussein said the Iraqi nation is one that is conscious of its "great mission of faith," and called Army Day "a source of pride for Iraqi mujahedin and freedom fighters." "When you, the valiant people of Iraq, renew your pledge to Allah, to yourselves, to the nation, and to humanity at large, that you will continue the march of jihad, you not only strengthen your adherence to your belief and your sacrifices for the faith...but you also ensure final victory over the enemies of Allah -- your enemies," he said. "We will fear no one in defending our right," he added. "Our right is a clear right, as clear as [the U.S.] falsehood.... Allah shall drown [the U.S.] in shame."

Hussein went on to say that the United States is coordinating with Israel to "subject the region to a full, complete, and physical occupation...with a view of securing complete control over [the Gulf region's] resources," Iraq News Agency reported. "But the enemy will pay dearly later, on top of what it is paying at present for its reckless policies of greed and expansionism," he added. Hussein also said the United States is now "providing cover" for crimes perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people. He said U.S. "aggression" against Iraq also provides cover for a weak economy and failed policies; namely, resolving the Palestine question, quelling resistance in Afghanistan, and global policies in general.

Hussein said the United States is trying to make UN inspectors "go beyond the declared objectives of the Security Council" and cited the collection of names of scientists and "addressing employees with questions that carry hidden agendas, giving special attention to military camps, to nonproscribed military production, and to other matters, all or most of which constitute purely intelligence work." He concluded by saying Iraq is "fully prepared...for any eventuality." "It is the enemy that is confused," he added. "The enemy ought to remember the terrible end of all empires that committed aggression against our people and nation in the past." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI PRESIDENT MEETS WITH ADVISERS, SONS. Saddam Hussein held a meeting with his advisers and sons Uday and Qusay in which he said Iraq will make the United States "despair" over time, Iraq News Agency reported on 7 January. "The enemy thinks it will make us despair with time. In fact, we will make [the enemy] despair with the passage of time. We will prove to it that it can attack us but it will never be able to conquer the will of the people.... This is the crux of the confrontation," Hussein said. "There is no other alternative or decisive element in battle except frustrating the enemy and forcing it to admit that it is incapable of confronting free men," he added. Addressing the work of UN weapons inspectors, the Iraqi president said, "I call this reconnaissance and not a search for chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons, because they know that these weapons do not exist."

Hussein went on to criticize U.S. policy throughout the world by saying that "there is no reckless power like that of those who lead in the United States now. Despite their great technology and science, they arouse the world's anger at and hatred toward them. As a result, their interests will diminish," he added. "How many states in the world can compete with the United States in the fields of trade and economic interests within a normal framework?" he asked, answering, "Not a single state." Hussein concluded that the United States can secure its interests through economic and technological enterprises, so it is "reckless" for it to "resort to aggression, evil, invasion, and harm." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

PARTY CLAIMS PRESIDENT'S SON FOILED COUP ATTEMPT. The Iraqi Justice and Development Party issued a statement saying that the Iraqi Special Security Service (SSF), headed by Qusay Hussein, foiled a coup attempt on 6 January, the London-based daily "Al-Sharq Al-Awsat" reported on 9 January. Apparently the SSF raided the homes of several Iraqi officers in Takrit and Mosul on Army Day.

The statement added: "Our sources inside Iraq said another raid was made that same night and at the same time in Al-Habbaniyah Air Base (west) and Imam Ali Base in Al-Nasiriyah (south). The raids were carried out after Qusay received in person a tip from an officer who claimed he was part of the plan that was intended to be carried out on the morning of 6 January, the anniversary of the establishment of the Iraqi army." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

NEW IRAQI OPPOSITION PARTY ESTABLISHED. A statement published in the Al-Sulaymaniyah-based newspaper "Al-Ittihad" on 28 December announced the establishment of a new Iraqi opposition party -- the Iraqi Justice and Development Party, which was described as a "political, social and civil party that calls for political participation within a federal Iraq.... It is a party that respects religious and ideological freedom...and believes that Iraqi policy should be based on tolerance and dialogue." The statement added that the party will not reject any form of governance that the Iraqi people choose. The party's statement further noted Iraq's "honorable national task" in serving Arab and Islamic causes, citing the "Palestinian cause and the Arab-Zionist conflict." The statement said Islam is the religion of Iraq and the basic source of the country's legislation. It called for the government to guarantee the right of equality for all Iraqis without discrimination and stated that the final arbiter of differences is the ballot box. The Iraqi Justice and Development Party also called for an independent military establishment, the revitalization of agriculture and livestock in Iraq, the protection of archaeological sites, and free education for everyone. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS U.S. WANTS TO DOMINATE WORLD. Naji Sabri said in a statement reported by Iraq Satellite TV on 6 January that U.S. charges that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction are lies, adding that the United States intends to "dominate the world." He said: "The dreams and illusions of the aggressors and colonialists belong in the dustbin of history. Their illusions and dreams are impossible. The masses will dump these illusions and dreams into the dustbin of history. We are fulfilling our duties and facilitating the work of the inspectors in a manner that would lead to revealing the truth; that is, Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction and that all that which is said against it by warmongers and the evil ones in the evil U.S. administration is nothing but lies and prevarication. They try to justify their colonialist campaign against the Arabs and Muslims in their effort to try to dominate the world." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQI VICE PRESIDENT INAUGURATES FACTORY. Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan has inaugurated the Al-Qa'ed Factory located at the Al-Yarmuk State Company, which belongs to the Military Industrialization Organization (MIO), Iraq Satellite TV reported on 8 January. Addressing the workers, the vice president said, "We bless your efforts. The progress you have made will have a great role in terms of enhancing Iraq's constant drive to build a national industrial foundation that is based on the capabilities and creative work of our great people." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

ISRAEL SAYS ARROW MISSILE CAN INTERCEPT SCUDS. Israel conducted a test launch of four Arrow interceptor missiles on 5 January from the Palmachim base south of Tel Aviv, the Israeli daily "Ha'aretz" reported on 6 January. The test launch simulated four missiles heading toward Israel, including Scuds and its derivatives, according to "Ha'aretz." According to the report, the Arrow, which travels at an average speed of 1,700 meters per second, is capable of intercepting enemy missiles as close as 50 kilometers from their intended targets. The test launch was the first time Israel has fired multiple Arrow missiles at the same time. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS HE IS WAITING FOR 'PROOF' ON IRAQ. Saud al-Faisal said on 7 January that his country will decide whether to support a possible war in Iraq if and when UN weapons inspectors provide "proof" of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction, the Jedda-based arabnews.com reported. "If the United Nations asks Saudi Arabia to join, depending on the material breach that they show, and depending on the proof that they show, Saudi Arabia will decide," al-Faisal said. The foreign minister reiterated that Saudi Arabia favors a political solution to the crisis in Iraq. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

TURKISH DAILY REPORTS ON ESTABLISHMENT OF REFUGEE CAMPS. The Turkish daily "Cumhuriyet" reported on 2 January on the establishment of 13 refugee camps in anticipation of an influx of up to 250,000 refugees that could result from a possible war in Iraq. According to the report, 13 camps will be set up along two lines above and below the 36th parallel in Iraq and five camps will be located on Turkish soil. The report adds that the UN is recruiting English and Kurdish-speaking medical personnel to work in the camps during the anticipated war. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER COMMENTS ON IRAQ, TURKOMANS, AND OIL... Yasar Yakis reasserted Turkey's "legitimate and strategic interests" in the northern Iraq areas of Mosul and Kirkuk in an interview published by the Istanbul-based "Hurriyet" on 6 January. Yakis said that while Turkey supports preserving the territorial integrity of Iraq, he added that Turkey will take "certain measures" if Baghdad authorities "cannot control the developments in their country" as a result of a possible war. Yakis called for equal rights for Turkomans in Iraq, and he said the oil in Turkoman-populated Mosul and Kirkuk belong to Iraq. He then hinted that Turkey was pressured into accepting in 1926 the borders determined by the League of Nations at the 1922-23 Lausanne Conference.

When asked whether Turkey has rights stemming from past agreements over Mosul and Kirkuk, he added, "We are currently...trying to find out whether or not we have lost our rights over this region," "Hurriyet" reported on 6 January. "After finding out...we will have to explain the basis for these rights to the international community as well as to our interlocutors," he said. Yakis went on to say that Turkey does not want to wage war against Iraq, saying: "We should explain to the people in northern Iraq that the measures that are being taken by Turkey in the region also serve their interests." Yakis also said Turkey would prefer that any potential action against Iraq be handled within the framework of NATO, because it would give his country "legitimate grounds" to support such an operation. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

...AND TURKISH PRIME MINISTER EXPOUNDS... Elaborating on Turkish Foreign Minister Yakis' statements on the Turkomans, Abdullah Gul said on 6 January that "Turkey's policy is extremely open," the Ankara-based daily "Anatolia" reported. "We attribute importance to the preservation of Iraq's territorial integrity," he said, adding that "Iraq's resources should be spent for the benefit of [the] Iraqi people. Of course, commercial relations and mutual efforts would be further improved after peace and stability are provided in the region," he said. He went on to say that "there will be joint ventures [in Mosul and Kirkuk]. Many companies will be established, and all the countries of the region will benefit from the blessings of the region." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

...AS HE WRAPS UP TALKS IN JORDAN. Turkish Prime Minister Gul wrapped up talks in Jordan on 6 January saying that Iraq should prove "without hesitation" that it does not possess weapons of mass destruction, "Anatolia" reported. Gul has met in recent days with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and King Abdullah II of Jordan. He is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia on 11 January. "There is a common view about concerted efforts that can be exerted and common steps [by regional leaders] that can be taken," Gul said while commenting on talks in the region. "I would like to once more remind [you] that Iraq has the biggest responsibility when I am saying that everyone has a responsibility. This is our common view." Gul said it is not too late for Iraq to avert war. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

TURKISH PARTY LEADER SAYS TURKEY WILL NOT CONDONE STATE IN NORTHERN IRAQ. Turkish Justice and Development Party Leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would never condone the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Commenting on statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Yakis on possible Turkish claims in northern Iraq, Erdogan said the minister was expressing his "own view" and not those of the state, Anadolu Agency reported on 8 January. "We are in favor of Iraq's [territorial] integrity," Erdogan added. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

IRAQIS, KUWAITIS MEET IN JORDAN TO DISCUSS POWS. The Jordanian headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) played host to a meeting of Kuwaiti and Iraqi delegates on 7 January to discuss the fate of Kuwaiti prisoners of war (POW) missing since the 1991 Gulf War, KUNA reported on 6 January. Iraq's attendance marks its first participation in committee meetings since 1998, when it abruptly stopped attending meetings, KUNA reported. UN POW coordinator Yulii Vorontsov, as well as representatives from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Britain, and France attended the meetings.

Mueen Qassis, information officer for the ICRC in Jordan, deemed the meeting "constructive and positive," the Kuwait news agency KUNA reported on 8 January. "The meeting was the start of a dialogue and all three parties (Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia) met, listened to each other, and dialogued in a constructive and good manner," Qassis said. Participants agreed to meet again in Amman on 22 January. The Technical POWs Committee will continue to meet in Amman through April.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Society (RCS) announced on 8 January that it has ordered delivery of humanitarian relief aid to Iraq, Emirates News Agency WAM reported on its website (http://www.wam.org.ae). "An RCS delegation led by Dr. Saleh Moussa arrived in Baghdad today to procure relief items from the local market and also oversee their distribution in various Iraqi cities. The distribution process will be conducted in coordination with the Iraqi RCS," WAM reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

ASYLUM, ANYONE? With rumors abounding as to whether or not Iraqi President Hussein has been offered asylum, diplomats have been issuing denials from Mauritania to Russia. Rumors first surfaced in November that Hussein had arranged safehaven for members of his family and others close to the regime, but not for himself or son Qusay (see RFE/RL "Iraq Report" 22 November 2002).

More recently, London-based daily "Al-Sharq Al-Awsat" quoted an unnamed senior Iraqi diplomat on 5 January as saying that rumors that Arab leaders are trying to convince Hussein to step down and seek asylum outside Iraq in order to avoid war are part of a "propagandistic campaign." The diplomat said, "None of the Arab leaders has presented this idea to Baghdad." "The talk about attempts at persuading him to accept the right to political asylum here or there is actually a cheap attempt to hint at a division in the Iraqi people's unity behind their national leadership."

The Russian Foreign Ministry began fending off rumors of an offer to Hussein by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 8 January. In a statement released on 9 January, the ministry declared, "This question has not been and is not being studied," adding, "There were also no requests concerning this" from Iraq, AFP reported.

Meanwhile, Mauritania also denied rumors on 8 January that the Iraqi leader may seek refuge in the West African nation, Reuters reported. The official news agency AMI issued a statement on that day calling the rumors unfounded. The Iraqi ambassador to Nouakchott was expelled in 1995 for "subversive activities," according to Reuters. Mauritania severed diplomatic relations with Iraq in 1999. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

BRITISH LEADERS SAY 27 JANUARY DEADLINE 'NOT CRITICAL'... British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that 27 January will not be a critical date in determining whether Iraq has violated UN Security Council resolutions regarding disarmament, London's "Financial Times" reported on 8 January. UN weapons inspectors are due to submit a status report on inspection work in Iraq on that date. Straw reportedly told the "Financial Times" that he does not believe any deadlines could be attached to the work of UN inspectors. "As long as there is no further material breach under Paragraph 4 [of Security Council Resolution 1441] and the inspectors are able to do their work unimpeded under the resolution, then that's what carries and what happens," he said. Meanwhile, AFP reported on 8 January that British Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon told the BBC that 27 January "is not a make-or-break date," adding that "clearly the inspection could carry on after January 27 providing there was a reason for it to do so. What is important is that we continue to go through the process set out in Security Council Resolution 1441, and January 27 is part of that process," he said. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

...AND FRENCH PRESIDENT SAYS 'COLLECTIVE ACTION' IS THE ONLY SOLUTION. French President Jacques Chirac has said the disarming of Iraq is the "duty" of the Middle East states and the world, and that the current crisis is "a problem that concerns peace and collective security, and we must therefore resolve it collectively." His comments were made during a holiday gathering with diplomats on 7 January, LCI TV reported. "The framework envisaged to this end is that of the United Nations, and it is the only legitimate one," Chirac said. "The action of the international community risks discredit if it sidesteps the principles upon which it is based." He added that war in Iraq should be a "last resort." Regarding Iraq's responsibilities, Chirac said: "A last chance to disarm peacefully is being offered to them. They must understand that there is no other possible outcome than to cooperate actively in every respect with the UN inspection mission, which must be accorded all the facilities and information it needs to carry out its task.... The Iraqis know that otherwise they would be exposing themselves to a war with incalculable consequences for them, for the region, and for the world." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: KREMLIN CONSIDERS UNILATERAL MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAQ ILLEGITIMATE. Speaking to journalists in Chita on 5 January, Sergei Ivanov said Moscow considers any military action by the United States and its allies against President Hussein without UN approval illegitimate and unjustified, newsru.com reported. He added that the deployment of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf could be either real preparations for military action or just a show of force. "I believe, however, that before making a final decision, the United States will take into account the results of the work of international weapons inspectors in Iraq and UN decisions based on those results." Ivanov said that he is skeptical that Baghdad possesses nuclear weapons and that he prefers to wait for inspectors' reports before drawing conclusions about possible chemical and biological weapons. (Victor Yasmann)

SPANISH DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS IRAQI MISSILES COULD REACH MEDITERRANEAN. Spanish Defense Minister Federico Trillo said that he has seen evidence that Iraq possesses chemical and biological weapons, and that Iraqi missiles are capable of reaching the mid-Mediterranean. Trillo's comments were made during an interview published on the website of the Madrid-based daily "La Razon" on 6 January. Trillo said, "Iraq is in possession of chemical and bacteriological weapons. We, the ministers of the Atlantic alliance [NATO], know it, and we have seen the evidence, although it would be much more solid for everyone if the United Nations inspectors confirmed it. Iraq appears to be in a position to reach the mid-Mediterranean with a missile, which could contain a mass destruction warhead, and allow me not to be any more explicit." The defense minister added that he did not believe Iraqi missiles were capable of reaching Spain, however. Asked about the "evidence" of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction, Trillo reiterated, "I will accept what the United Nations inspectors say, but I have the personal conviction, on the basis of clear evidence both from the information we have received in the Atlantic Council and from the documents from the Blair and Bush administrations, that Iraq is in possession of chemical and bacteriological weapons of mass destruction." He added, "There are indications that it [Iraq] is in the process of obtaining" nuclear weapons "unless it is stopped in time."

UNMOVIC HEAD SAYS NO EVIDENCE FOUND BUT CLAIMS IRAQ IS STILL NOT IN COMPLIANCE... UNMOVIC chief Blix and IAEA Director-General al-Baradei briefed reporters following their meeting with UN Security Council members on 9 January, international media reported. Blix noted that while inspectors have found "no smoking gun" in Iraq, it is clear that the Iraqi declaration on weapons of mass destruction is incomplete. Blix cited as examples Iraq's failure to account for weapons known to exist as a result of previous UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspections and its failure to provide the names of known Iraqi scientists to the UN. In addition, the declaration did not account for imports of missile engines, stocks of VX gas, and ingredients for the production of missile fuel and chemical bombs. "We know for a fact that there are weapons there," he said, according to Reuters. "We have been covering the country in ever-wider sweeps, and we haven't found any smoking guns." Blix said Iraq must account for the missing items or provide proof of their destruction. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

...AS IAEA HEAD SAYS NO NUCLEAR ACTIVITY DETECTED... Al-Baradei said in regard to possible Iraqi nuclear activities that "to date, no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities has been detected, although not all of the laboratory results of sample analysis are yet available." Al-Baradei added that an examination of aluminum tubes suspected of having dual-use potential determined they are not suitable for such purposes, Reuters reported. Blix and al-Baradei are scheduled to meet with Iraqi officials in Baghdad on 19-20 January. A status report of weapons inspections will be presented to the UN Security Council on 27 January, and the inspectors' first regular quarterly report is expected on 1 March. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

...AND STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN CALLS IRAQI COOPERATION 'SUPERFICIAL.' U.S. State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher on 9 January called Iraqi cooperation "superficial" during a daily press briefing posted on the State Department's website (http://www.state.gov). "The more that we analyze what Iraq provided [in its declaration], the less substantial it seems and the less current it seems.... There is no indication that Iraq has changed its approach from an approach based on deceit and deception," he said. "There is no indication that they've made a strategic decision to disarm." Regarding the failure of inspectors to interview Iraqi scientists outside the presence of National Monitoring Directorate representatives, Boucher said: "I think we want to see people to be in a position to be able to talk freely about what they know about the Iraqi program. Honest Iraqis would talk freely because it's in the interest of their nation to disclose these programs, have the inspectors verify it, and have the inspectors destroy that equipment. That's what necessary for a peaceful resolution. So we want people to feel free and to be able to do that." (Kathleen Ridolfo)

NEW 'OIL-FOR-FOOD' RESTRICTIONS ON IRAQ. The UN Security Council tightened restrictions on Iraqi imports of antibiotics and communications equipment through its ratification of Resolution 1454 on 30 December 2002. Iraqi state-run press criticized the decision in editorials on 2 January. The Iraqi daily "Al-Jumhuriya" stated that Resolution 1454 is further evidence of U.S. "hegemony" over the Security Council, AP reported on 2 January. "This is a bad resolution which would lead to inflicting deliberate damage and harm to our people," AP cited the daily as stating. Russian Ambassador to the UN Sergei Lavrov said Russia managed to stave off proposals to tighten supplies of other medicines and prevented the UN from being able to add to the list at will, ITAR-TASS reported on 30 December. Lavrov apparently called the ban on some commercial commodities groundless. The Security Council passed the resolution unanimously, with Russia and Syria abstaining.

Under the $4.93 billion oil-for-food distribution plan, the $1.27 billion will go to support the food sector. The remainder will cover 24 other sectors in Iraq, including $359.5 million to rehabilitate the water and sanitation systems, $272 million for the electrical supply, $143 million to the medical sector, and $344 million for "especially vulnerable groups," according to a 3 January statement by the UN. The executive summary of the distribution plan can be viewed at http://www.un.org/depts/oip/dp/dp13/index.html (Kathleen Ridolfo)

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