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Iraq asks Annan to intervene on its behalf with Security Council

Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan  

From Rym Brahimi

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- In advance of another round of meetings next month, Iraq is asking the United Nations to help "end injustice" toward that country.

The newspaper Al Thawra, the organ of the ruling Baath party, said in its Friday editions that despite trying to end "the collapse of United Nations values and principles," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan could do more.

The paper called on Annan to seize the opportunity provided by the talks between the United Nations and Iraq, scheduled to take place in Vienna July 4-5, "to prove the good intention of the world body and its keenness to apply international law in a fair and balanced way."

The U.N. efforts, the paper said, "covered many areas, but were still lacking with regard to Iraq and its legitimate rights."

Al Thawra added, "The general secretariat has not made an effort that matches its legal responsibilities to end injustice on Iraq and stop the ongoing aggression."

Annan should prove he has a commitment to "make the coming round of talks a success," the newspaper said, urging him to use his position to obtain answers to Iraq's questions from the U.N. Security Council.

Among the points Iraq has said it wants addressed are the economic sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the request that Iraq readmit U.N. weapons inspectors and the regular sorties flown by U.S. and British aircraft over northern and southern Iraq.

The return of the inspectors is a key demand of the Security Council and especially of the United States, which has accused Iraq of trying to rebuild its banned weapons programs and of supporting terrorism.

The U.N. sanctions cannot be lifted until inspectors certify that Iraq's programs to build nuclear, chemical and biological weapons have been dismantled, along with the missiles to deliver them.

The paper said the issue of the overflights made Annan's mission difficult, because it would require "some kind of confrontation with the United States."

Coalition aircraft have been patrolling no-fly zones in Iraq since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein launched a policy of challenging enforcement of those zones in late 1998, deploying surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery against the aircraft.

Western diplomats in Baghdad have said that with the approach of the next round of United Nations-Iraqi talks and news from Washington over possible U.S. military action against Iraq, there has been increasing anti-American rhetoric in the Iraqi papers, as well as some criticism toward the United Nations.




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