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Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Paul Weller eases UN-Iraq tension
Paul Weller
Paul Weller: Soothing international tensions
UN Security Council diplomats locked in tense negotiations over Iraqi sanctions have found a novel method of easing stress.

They are playing a five-minute music clip at the start of each negotiation session, with the proviso that a different country is represented every time.

The UK's music was showcased on Monday in the form of rocker Paul Weller, of punk band The Jam. It is not known what song was played.

The idea came at the suggestion of Carne Ross, the UK's Iraqi expert. The meetings are between first secretaries of the 15 council members who are well-versed in Iraqi politics.

Hot topic

On Tuesday, Chinese traditional music was played. The music was described as "quite lovely and relaxing."

The hot topic of discussion among UN diplomats in their rare moments of leisure is apparently which song they will choose to represent their own country.

Bangladesh is believed to be the next stop on the musical tour.

French envoy Fabrice Mauries is thought to be favouring a Serge Gainsbourg-Brigitte Bardot duet for his country's turn, but has said: "We are looking forward to Jamaica."

Norway's envoy has suggested Mamma Mia by Swedish superstars Abba, while Ireland has decided against the lament Danny Boy.

Council members are working to a strict 3 July deadline on a United States-British draft resolution to supersede the old oil-for-food programme.

The programme was recently extended for one more month to allow diplomats more negotiating time.

Iraq suspended crude exports of oil in protest at the extension.

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See also:

05 Jun 01 | Middle East
UN debates Iraq sanctions
23 May 01 | Middle East
UN faces split over Iraq proposals
21 May 01 | Middle East
Saddam rejects 'smart' sanctions
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