Global Policy Forum

Iraq Again Warns Turkey

Jordan Times
June 12, 2001

Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz warned Turkey that British and US proposals to impose "smart" sanctions on Iraq would damage the Turkish economy, in talks here Monday with Turkish envoy Faruq Logoglu.

Aziz warned of "the negative consequence on Iraqi-Turkish economic relations if Ankara implements the resolution" on which the UN Security Council is expected to vote at the start of July, the official news agency INA reported.

But he also stressed "Iraq's will to preserve its ties with Turkey in the interests of the peoples of the two countries". Turkey, meanwhile, also wants "to promote its relations with Iraq in different fields, and my visit falls within that context," said Logoglu, undersecretary of state at the Turkish foreign ministry, also quoted by INA.

Britain, with US backing, has circulated a draft at the Security Council that would abolish curbs on civilian trade with Iraq, while tightening a weapons ban and controls on smuggling outside a UN oil-for-food deal.

Iraq on June 4 suspended more than two million barrels per day of oil exports under the UN programme in protest at the plan, although oil products continue to flow to Iraq's neighbours including Turkey outside UN financial constraints.

Ahead of the halt in exports, Aziz already warned Turkey and Jordan that their lucrative oil and trade links with Iraq would grind to a halt if they cooperated with smart sanctions.

The US is counting on Iraq's neighbours to implement tighter controls on the oil trade. Jordan and Turkey rely heavily on Iraq for their oil needs. Amman imports five million tonnes a year of Iraqi crude, while Ankara receives around 100,000 barrels a day.

Ankara estimates it has lost $35 billion in trade with Baghdad since a sweeping UN embargo was imposed for Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The oil trade is tolerated but, unlike in the case of Jordan, not covered by a UN exemption.

In Paris, meanwhile, the French foreign ministry said officials from the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council will meet in Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday for more talks on ways to overhaul the Iraq sanctions.

The ministry said on Monday the talks would work on drawing up a list of goods that Iraq would be able to import only with the authorisation of the United Nations Sanctions Committee.

"It seems to us essential to ensure that the list of those goods which will remain subject to approval from the Sanctions Committee should be as short as possible," ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau told reporters.

Britain and the United States are trying to promote a new system of "smart sanctions" that would ease restrictions on imports of civilian goods while tightening controls on weapons-related imports and oil smuggling to Iraq's neighbours.

France, China and Russia, the other three permanent members of the Security Council, have been sympathetic to Iraq's demand for abolition of the sanctions regime, which has been in place since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Rivasseau said France wanted "a really substantial easing of civilian sanctions" and processes put in place that would avoid the risk of bureaucratic delays to necessary imports.

Iraqi newspapers quoted President Saddam Hussein on Sunday as saying Iraq was set for a new showdown over the US-British proposal, which he called an "enemy plan to break Iraq's national will."

More Information on the Oil for Food Program
More Information on Sanctions Against Iraq
More Information on the Iraq Crisis


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