- BAGDAD (AFP) - Iraq accused
Kuwait of stealing its oil for the third day running Sunday, with one report
saying it involved 300,000 barrels of crude a day taken from oil fields
in the border area.
- "The theft of Iraqi oil by Kuwait is not new,"
Saad Qassem Hammudi, a senior member of the ruling Baath Party told AFP.
- "It is a fact established in Iraqi documents and
reports since 1990", when Iraq invaded the emirate after accusing
it of taking oil.
- Hammudi said Kuwaiti Crown Prince Saad al-Abdallah al-Sabah
"recognised the theft in 1990 during negotiations between Iraq and
Kuwait in Saudi Arabia," preceding the invasion.
- "The differences between the two were only over
the amount of crude stolen," he added.
- The Baghdad government newspaper Al-Jumhuriya said Sunday
the amount of oil being stolen was between 300,000 and 350,000 barrels
- It said the oil was taken with US backing from the Rumeila,
Zubeir and Basra fields in southern Iraq.
- Hammudi also rejected US threats to resort to force if
Iraq menaces Kuwait.
- "Is it forbidden to denounce the theft of our resources
or are we threatening regional security by demanding our right?" he
- Hammudi said the theft of Iraqi crude was part of US
agression against Baghdad assisted by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait which shelter
US and British warplanes.
- "The UN Security Council and the Arab League should
intervene to halt the aggression and put an end to the pillage of Iraq's
riches," he said.
- Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary William Cohen said US
forces in the Gulf were fully prepared to stop any aggressive action by
- "Our forces stand ready," he told a news conference
in Singapore aboard a visiting US warship, the USS Germantown.
- "I think he (Iraqi President Saddam Hussein) understands
that the United States and our British friends are fully prepared to take
whatever action is necessary to prevent him from trying to repeat his past
actions," Cohen said.
- "We can certainly handle Saddam should he choose
to take any kind of aggressive action. It would be a mistake on his part
should he choose to repeat what he did in the past," Cohen said.
- And Kuwait's Defence Minister Sheikh Salem al-Sabah warned
Sunday that Iraqi leaders would pay a "heavy price" if they commit
a "military folly" against the emirate.
- Kuwait has denied stealing and accused Baghdad of trying
to start another war in the region.
- Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990 after accusing
the emirate of stealing oil from the Rumeila field and nibbling away at
- A US-led international coalition chased Iraqi forces
out of Kuwait seven months later.
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