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UN: Iraq Won't Cooperate On Proposed Sanctions Changes

Baghdad, 19 May 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Iraq has again ruled out any cooperation with British and U.S. proposals for changing the sanctions regime to ease restrictions on civilian goods while tightening enforcement of bans on military-use items. A senior ruling Ba'th party official, Saad Kassem Hammudi, told reporters in Baghdad today that Iraq's position is clear that the UN embargo must be totally lifted.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov discussed UN sanctions against Iraq yesterday in Washington. Ivanov said Moscow has its own proposals but did not spell out differences between the Russian and U.S. positions. Moscow has previously called for lifting all the sanctions.

Further talks on the new sanctions change proposal are scheduled to take place at the United Nations next week.

London and Washington say they would like the UN Security Council to approve their proposed changes by 31 May 31. The next six-month phase of the UN humanitarian oil-for-food program for Iraq begins 4 June.