Iraq

Iraq blames U.S. for embargo on ninth anniversary

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BAGHDAD, Aug 6 (Reuters) - An official Iraqi newspaper marked Friday's ninth anniversary of the start of a U.N. embargo on the country by blaming the United States for the sweeping trade sanctions.

"Today, brutal sanctions complete their ninth year and the anniversary of issuing the notorious resolution 661 indicates the sick and aggressive tendencies established by the United States in the international community in the 1990s," the authoritative Al-Thawra said.

Thawra, mouthpiece of the ruling Baath party, said Washington had influenced members of the U.N. Security Council to enact the sanctions, imposed on August 6, 1990 for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

"They pushed things to interfere in order to draw up a scenario of conspiracy against Iraq," the paper said.

Thawra said the sanctions had killed more than 1.5 million people besides causing other health and environmental hazards.

"Sanctions..killed over 1.5 million Iraqis between men, elderly people, women and children (and) caused traces of catastrophe in the environment, health, education, agriculture, industry and others," it said.

Iraq wants the sanctions to be lifted but the U.N. says this can take place only when it is satisfied that Baghdad's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction has been fully dismantled.

Resolution 661 imposed the sanctions on Iraq, including a full trade embargo barring all imports from and exports to Iraq, expecting only medical supplies, foodstuff and other humanitarian needs as determined by the Security Council sanctions committee.

An oil-for-food programme, which went into effect in December 1996, allows Iraq to sell an amount of oil determined by the United Nations -- currently set at $5.25 billion worth for six months -- to buy food and medicines.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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