- BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Sanctions-hit Iraq said on Saturday it will accept
no more humanitarian aid and urged friends instead to campaign ``with force''
to end its eight-year economic embargo.
- A statement issued after a cabinet meeting
chaired by President Saddam Hussein said Iraqis would not be beggars. ``The
cabinet sent its thanks and appreciation to all parties and people who
have exerted efforts to offer material assistance to Iraq under the title
of humanitarian aid,'' said the statement, carried by the official Iraqi
News Agency. ``Iraq does not need money, and its people are not lazy people
asking for aid from others,'' it added.
- ``The cabinet affirmed that Iraqi authorities
would apologise from now on (and not) accept any material assistance which
could be classified as humanitarian aid.'' The statement came the day after
two aid flights, from Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, arrived in Baghdad.
They were part of a growing wave of humanitarian donations sent in recent
months by sympathetic, mainly Arab, states. Iraq blames the sanctions,
imposed for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, for the death of 1.5 million people.
It has always maintained that foreign assistance, and the supplies it buys
under its oil-for-food accord with the United Nations, cannot be an alternative
to the full lifting of sanctions. ``The cabinet expressed its thanks to
those parties and people and (expressed) its hope that they will continue
with us under another framework. The basis now is that those parties and
people in solidarity with our people should raise the slogan of lifting
the unjust sanctions on Iraq with force,'' the INA statement said.
- Iraq, which used to be a major aid donor,
has received food shipments from countries as impoverished as Sudan and
Djibouti. In recent weeks it has waged a major diplomatic offensive to
campaign for international support for an end to the sanctions, which cannot
be lifted until it has persuaded U.N. inspectors it has scrapped all its
weapons of mass destruction. Iraq says it destroyed the weapons years ago
and that U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspectors are following a U.S.
agenda to prolong their work and extend the sanctions. It sent senior government
ministers to lobby Arab states and most of the 15-member states of the
U.N. Security Council. The United States and Britain, the two countries
which have taken the toughest line against Iraq in the council, maintain
that the oil-for-food deal meets Baghdad's humanitarian needs. The accord,
which has allowed Iraq to sell $2 billion of oil every six months for the
last year and a half and buy urgently needed food and medicine with some
of the revenue, was more than doubled this month to allow Iraq to sell
$4.5 billion worth of oil between June and November.
- Iraq is unlikely to be able to export
that much oil unless it gets early approval from the Security Council to
buy $300 million worth of oil industry spare parts to renovate installations
described by U.N.-commissioned experts in April as being in a ``lamentable