BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Middle East
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



The BBC's Mark Devenport reports
"Western diplomats remain sceptical"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 22 November, 2000, 23:46 GMT
Iraq denies oil exports to Syria
Iraq's west Qurna oil plant
Reports said 150,000 barrels a day were being pumped to Syria
Iraq has denied reports that it has begun exporting oil to its former enemy Syria, in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

The denial came after reports from Syrian and unofficial Iraqi sources that Iraq had started pumping oil through the pipeline for the first time in 18 years.

Women sell powdered milk in Baghdad
Revenues from Iraq oil are used for food and medicines
After being approached by the UN, Baghdad said it was merely taking measures to prepare for future exports of oil through the Syrian route.

The BBC's UN correspondent, Mark Devenport, says Western diplomats remain sceptical of Iraq's denial.

He says the UK has called for an early meeting of the UN Iraq sanctions committee to discuss the latest information on the Syrian pipeline.

US concern

Under the terms of the UN-administered oil-for-food programme governing Iraqi exports, Baghdad is authorised to export oil through its pipeline in Turkey or its port at Mina-al-Bakr.

The revenues of the sale of oil must be used to buy food and medicine for the Iraqi people.


Earlier on Wednesday, the United States said it was taking the reports seriously.

It said the US embassy was discussing the issue with authorities in Damascus.

Syria has denied it was importing up to 150,000 barrels of Iraqi oil a day.

Air embargo

The US, which is seeking to stop the erosion of UN sanctions against Iraq, would oppose Iraqi oil exports through the pipeline without UN permission.

The US and UK have recently expressed concern over the decision by a number of countries, including France, to conduct humanitarian flights to Iraq without permission from the UN Security Council.

This breaking of a de facto air travel embargo has been bolstered by improving relations with the Arab and Muslim world.

The UK and other members of the Security Council also want to discuss the donation of a Boeing 747 to Iraq by a Qatari businessman to find out if it violates sanctions.

There has also been talk of a direct dialogue between Iraq and the UN, which has raised expectations that a solutions to the sanctions stalemate is within grasp.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Ten years after Iraq invaded Kuwait we look back at the legacy of war

Key Stories:

The Aftermath:

Country profiles:
AUDIO VIDEO
TALKING POINT
See also:

27 Sep 00 | Middle East
Syria and Iraq forge closer ties
22 Sep 00 | Middle East
French flight to Iraq divides West
18 Aug 00 | Middle East
UN panel: 'Iraq sanctions must go'
20 Nov 00 | Middle East
UK conciliatory over Iraq embargo
07 Nov 00 | Middle East
UK criticises French policy on Iraq
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories