Baghdad/Vienna, 1 November 1997/P/K/15702c-is


In a meeting with the President of the I.P.O., Dr. Hans Koechler, in Baghdad, the Chairman of the Arab and International Relations Committee of the National Assembly of Iraq, Mr. Saad Qasem Hammoudi, explained the recent resolution of the Revolutionary Command Council concerning the inspection procedures carried out in the name of the U.N. Security Council. Mr. Hammoudi stated that the American members of the U.N. inspection team have acted in a biased and political manner so as to delay indefinitely the final report on the dismantling of Iraq's arms production capabilities as specified in the ceasefire resolution of the Security Council. The situation has become unbearable for Iraq as the final report of the U.N. arms inspectors is the condition for the lifting of the oil embargo imposed on Iraq since 1990, Mr. Hammoudi stated.

The President of the I.P.O., during his stay in Iraq, got acquainted with the devastating consequences of the total economic blockade in regard to the nutritional situation and the health conditions in Iraq. He stated that the final report of the arms inspectors must not be delayed any further and he called for experts from neutral countries to serve in the team of arms inspectors. The credibility of the whole United Nations system is at stake if members of the Security Council's inspection team act in such a way as to serve political goals of one of the permanent members of the Council. The framework of action for the team of inspectors is purely technical, Dr. Koechler stated.

The President of the I.P.O. visited Baghdad in connection with the North-South Mediterranean Symposion that was convened earlier this week by the Mediterranean 5tudies Center and the Jamaheer Center for International Studies. He presented a report on "U.S. European Relations and their Impact on the Mediterranean." Former French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson sent a special message to the meeting in which he called for an open dialogue between the countries on the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean based on mutual respect and comprehensive economic co-operation. The final document of the symposion stressed the special role of the dialogue between the Islamic and Christian civilizations in the Mediterranean and the need for both - Mediterranean-European and Mediterranean-Arab countries - to unite and stand up against foreign hegemony and interference. Such independence will be the main basis for a lasting order of peace and co-operation in the Mediterranean, the participants stated.