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Wednesday, 25 February, 1998, 19:43 GMT
Iraqi official condemns further US-UK pressure on UN

A senior Iraqi official has condemned US and British attempts to push for a UN resolution allowing for military strikes against Baghdad if Iraqi violates the agreement reached by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan earlier in the week.

Iraqi Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Riyad al-Qaysi described these efforts as "illegitimate" .

"In our view, this US-British attempt is illegitimate because it casts doubt on the credibility of the agreement that was signed by the UN secretary general and my government on behalf of the United Nations and the entire international community," al-Qaysi said, in a live interview broadcast on Qatari TV on Wednesday evening.

"Undoubtedly, this attempt aims to restrict the role of the secretary general and to rob him of the necessary flexibility and elbow room for a sound implementation of what was agreed on," he added.

Asked whether Iraq still wanted to impose a time-limit on the inspection process, al-Qaysi said that Iraq trusted Kofi Annan to arrive at a satisfactory agreement.

"Personally, we trust the UN secretary general and his skill and expertise.

He will sponsor and will be responsible for implementing this agreement because he is an expert on UN affairs," he said.

"We trust that he will not let this agreement be transformed into a permanent open-ended game.

We hope that its functional time-limit will be fixed in accordance with the agreement within a very reasonable period," he added.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


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