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The BBC's Frank Gardner
"There have been increasing calls in the Gulf media for the ten-year-old sanctions to be lifted"
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Sunday, 9 April, 2000, 15:44 GMT 16:44 UK
Gulf nations condemn Iraq
Iraq protest
Iraqis blame the economic sanctions for the country's problems
The Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has condemned the Iraqi Government for the suffering of its own people.

In a statement concluding a meeting in Saudi Arabia, it says Iraq had failed to implement United Nations resolutions to ease economic sanctions imposed against Baghdad after it invaded Kuwait in 1990.



The GCC welcomes any initiative aimed at easing the sufferings of the brotherly Iraqi people for which the Iraqi regime is solely to blame

Gulf Cooperation Council
The GCC also blamed Israel for the deadlock in the Middle East peace process.

"Iraq is continuing to delay implementation of essential aspects of resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council," the GCC said.

The GCC deplored Baghdad's opposition to UN Resolution 1284, which offers a renewable suspension of economic sanctions in return for Iraq's full co-operation with a new UN arms control body.

Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein's government reacted angrily

However, it welcomed the latest UN resolution which has doubled the allocation of funds from UN-controlled Iraqi crude exports for the purchase of spare parts for Iraq's battered oil industry.

"The GCC welcomes any initiative aimed at easing the sufferings of the brotherly Iraqi people for which the Iraqi regime is solely to blame," the statement said.

Reaction

Iraq reacted angrily through its official news agency, INA, saying that the Gulf monarchies were falling into line with "American lies" aimed at hurting Baghdad.

Since the end of the 1991 Gulf War, "Iraq has respected without argument all its commitments in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, no matter how unjust they might be," INA said.

"It seems that the GCC's foreign ministers leave out these facts, conforming to the desire of the US administration," the news agency added.

Peace process

The GCC also blamed the "obstinacy" of Israel for the failure of the US-Syrian summit in Geneva in March to revive peace talks.

"Israel did not respond favourably to the necessary conditions for the peace process" on the Syrian track, it said.

The foreign ministers of the six Gulf Arab states that make up the GCC were much less harsh with Iran - whose relations with its Arab neighbours have improved since the 1997 election of reformist President Mohammad Khatami.

The foreign ministers called on Tehran to "respond favourably to the good-intentioned efforts" to resolve a territorial dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a GCC member.

Both countries dispute the sovereignty over three tiny islands in the Gulf.

The GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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See also:

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02 Apr 00 | Middle East
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