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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

SLUG: 2-277902 Iraq/U-N (L-O)










INTRO: Iraq has praised Russia for blocking a British-American plan to impose modified, so-called "smart sanctions" against Baghdad. The U-N Security Council Tuesday (7/3) simply extended the current program -- under which Iraq is allowed to export its oil in return for food and other humanitarian goods. V-O-A's Sonja Pace reports from our Middle East bureau in Cairo.

TEXT: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein met with his top leaders in Baghdad and they praised Russia's opposition to the British-American proposals as what was termed an "honorable stand in the face of an evil colonialist project."

Iraq had lobbied hard against any modifications to the current sanctions plan and even suspended oil exports in protest. Baghdad has yet to say whether it will resume oil shipments, but political analyst, Sa'ad Naji Jawad of Baghdad University told V-O-A that he thinks Iraq will react favorably.

///JAWAD ACT ///

I believe Iraq will take a positive attitude toward this new extension and it will resume in the near future the export of oil.

///END ACT ///

The U-N Security Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to extend for an additional five months the oil-for-food program - under which Iraq is allowed to export its oil and buy food and other humanitarian goods in return. The program was established as an exemption to sanctions levied against Baghdad after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Britain and the United States wanted modifications to allow Iraq to import more civilian goods while tightening restrictions on items that could be used for military purposes.

But, Washington and London failed to convince permanent Security Council member Russia of the merits of the new so-called "smart sanctions." In the end, Moscow refused to go along and threatened a veto. The proposed modifications also raised concerns among some of Iraq's neighbors, who depend heavily on Iraqi oil.

Professor Jawad says Iraq will want to ensure that Russia and other friendly countries maintain their opposition to "smart sanctions."

/// 2ND JAWAD ACT ///

I think the attitude of Jordan, Syria, Turkey and even Egypt and Russia was very important and I think Iraq will continue to cooperate with these countries.

/// END ACT ///

Professor Jawad says Iraq's lobbying efforts against smart-sanctions paid off.

/// 3rd JAWAD ACT ///

It is indeed a victory for Iraqi diplomacy because the feeling here is that the new resolution (was meant to) enforce sanctions rather than ease them on the Iraqi people.

/// END ACT ///

The United States and Britain have indicated they will not give up their efforts and the "smart sanctions" issue is expected to come up again. (Signed)


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