Global Policy Forum

Iraq Says Malaysia to Help Fight

May 11, 1999

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has promised to do his best to help Iraq fight trade sanctions imposed by the United Nations, Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yaseen Ramadhan said on Tuesday. "We are sure, confident, that Malaysia will do its best to play a positive role in this respect,'' Ramadhan told reporters in the Malaysian capital after talks with Mahathir.

Malaysia has called on the U.N. Security Council to draw up a new mechanism for monitoring Iraq's weapons programme, saying sanctions and military actions against Baghdad led by the United States have gone overboard. Malaysia, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, has also said that it wants unilateral air strikes and arbitrary imposition of "no-fly-zones'' over Iraq to be stopped immediately.

Ramadhan, who goes to Vietnam from Malaysia, was seeking support for Iraq's campaign to end the trade sanctions imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

The Iraqi vice-president said he knew the odds facing Baghdad's campaign despite support from several non-permanent members of the Security Council. "We know the capabilities of non-permanent members of the Security Council.'' "But we believe that Malaysia, besides other countries which sympathise with the Iraqi position, will enhance their demand that sanction must be lifted from Iraq.''

Ramadhan said he has met Mahathir five times altogether in bilateral and international meetings and on each occasion, the Malaysian leader had criticised the sanctions and "no-fly zones'' imposed on Iraq. "Dr Mahathir today stressed the same position that Malaysia will do its best to help Iraq get rid of sanctions,'' Ramadhan said at news conference, where he arrived an hour late after talks with Mahathir.

He also reiterated Iraq's condemnation of the NATO missile strike on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, which Baghdad has called a "criminal act.'' "This alliance, which is supposed to be a defensive alliance, is now transformed into a military force that interferes in the internal affairs of other countries.'' "We consider this new phenomenon dangerous.''

More Information on Sanctions Against Iraq

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