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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 22:52 GMT 23:52 UK
Bosnian firm aiding Iraq, US suggests
A US fighter aircraft over Iraq
The US wants regime change in Iraq

The United States has called for an investigation into claims that an arms company in Bosnia has been supplying military aid to Iraq.

According to western diplomats in Bosnia, the US believes the company is in breach of United Nations resolutions outlawing military assistance to Saddam Hussein's regime.

The authorities in Bosnia say they take the allegation seriously.

It relates to an arms company based in the mainly Serb region of Bosnia known as Republika Srpska.


It is claimed that the advisers were in Iraq until very recently

It is claimed the company has been supplying military advice and technical know-how to the Iraqi regime.

The United States has called on the Bosnian authorities to investigate the allegations and determine whether the links are in breach of UN resolutions banning military assistance to Iraq.

Western diplomats in Bosnia say the US is treating the matter very seriously.

Advisers

It is understood that the US embassy in Sarajevo handed a document to the Bosnian Government last week outlining the allegations.

The US claims military advisers were sent to Iraq to help train members of the air force and help maintain their military aircraft.

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic also had ties to Iraqi regime
It is also claimed that the advisers were in Iraq until very recently.

Authorities in Republika Srpska have begun an investigation.

The chief international envoy to Bosnia, Paddy Ashdown, says he regards the allegations as very serious and will closely monitor the inquiry carried out by local officials.

Old ties

This is not the first time there have been allegations of links between the former Yugoslavia and the Iraqi regime.

In 1999, the then president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, is known to have developed close ties with Iraq.

The fact that the US has raised these concerns now shows its desire to tighten the net around Saddam Hussein's regime and those accused of supporting it.

See also:

09 Sep 02 | Middle East
09 Sep 02 | Middle East
09 Sep 02 | Americas
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