The United Nations Organisation and Iraq are to resume talks on Friday 3rd March on the return of international arms inspectors to Baghdad.
Kofi Annan and Iraqi representative Naji Sabri held two sessions of talks on Wednesday regarding the return of the inspectors to Baghdad. Sabri declared after the talks that “we are discussing all matters related with the UNO-Iraqi relations”.
As Kofi Annan travels to Washington on Thursday for discussions on the Middle East crisis, a UN spokesperson confirms that the talks with Iraq will proceed on Friday.
In 1998, the Iraqi government blocked the return of arms inspectors to Iraq after accusing this force of spying, claiming that their visits to infrastructures were closely followed by bombing raids by US and British military aircraft.
US aircraft raided Iraqi anti-aircraft installations on Wednesday, after claiming that they were fired on inside the northern exclusion zone.
Middle east experts have confirmed that the imminent raid on Iraq has been shelved until early next year, since the actions of Israel in the occupied territories have so inflamed public opinion in Arab countries that it would be impossible to form an alliance such as that during the Gulf War. It is estimated that up to 250,000 will be needed for a ground assault against Iraq and despite serious lack of morale in the Iraqi armed forces, it would not be possible to mass a substantial number of troops before the autumn, when adverse weather conditions will set in.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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