Global Policy Forum

New Sanctions-busting Flights to Strike Blows

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
September 26, 2000

The United Nations sanctions against Iraq took further blows Tuesday with news that French and Jordanian planes are to fly to the country this week, as well as news that Turkey is planning to appoint an ambassador to Baghdad.

A French plane - the second in two weeks - will fly from Paris to Baghdad on Friday with more than 100 people onboard, including a former foreign minister. The flight has been organised by a number of organisations, including the Franco-Iraqi Friendship Committee and the French NGO Children of the World.

Jordan too is to send a passenger jet to the Saddam International Airport. According to Jordanian officials, the plane is scheduled to fly from Amman to Baghdad on Wednesday and will be carrying several ministers, human rights activists and humanitarian aid.

The flight will be the first Arab sanctions-busting flight in the wake of the two Russian and one French flight that have already flown into Baghdad. Jordanian officials also said that Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb intends to visit Iraq next month in what would be the first visit by a Jordanian premier to its neighbour since 1991.

A trade embargo and air sanctions were imposed by the U.N. Security Council following the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The trade embargo was later loosened following the implementation of an oil for food programme that allows Iraq to sell a limited amount of oil in order to purchase humanitarian supplies such as food and medicine.

The first Paris-Baghdad flight on Friday provoked criticism from the United States and Britain of the French government's attitude to the sanctions. That flight carried 75 people, including 30 physicians. One of the passengers aboard this week's flight will be former Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson, one of the organizers said on Tuesday. In addition, 10 French deputies and parliamentarians from Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium will be aboard.

In another blow to the efforts of the United States and Britain to maintain the diplomatic isolation of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ismail Cem has indicated that his country is ready to upgrade its diplomatic representation in Baghdad to ambassadorial level.

The Turkish Daily News quoted diplomatic sources as saying the matter had already been decided in Ankara. "We've put forward a name and are now waiting for Iraq's official acceptance," said one source. Turkey has been represented by a charge d'affaires since 1996.

Cem pointed out, however, that the move to appoint an ambassador was in no way retaliation against the United States for a bill currently winding its way through the Congress that accuses Turkey of having carried out a genocide against Armenians during and after the First World War.

More Information on Civilian Flights to Iraq
More Information on Sanctions Against Iraq


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