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Author`s name Ольга Савка

Washington Conducts Secret Negotiations with Baghdad - 15 March, 2003

Iraq reportedly agrees upon USA’s conditions

Despite the fact that the opposition against USA’s war plans is growing in the world, the majority of Americans are ready to approve the army operation against Iraq, even if the USA does not obtain the approval for that from the United Nations. It should be mentioned here that the number of proponents of the military solution of the Iraqi problem has increased over the recent months.

Below are the results of the recent poll.

The attitude to the beginning of army actions without the UN’s and international community’s approval. Information provided by Zogby service.

The poll was conducted on March 5-7th: 49% of Americans supported the military action in Iraq without the UN approval, 47% were against it.
January 24-25th: 37% stood for the war without UN’s approval, 59% stood against it.

The information from CBS and the New York Times. The poll was conducted on March 7-9th : 55% supported the army situation, 41% stood against it. The poll on March 4-5th: 36% backed up the military operation, 60% did not.

The information from ABC channel. Respondents were asked a question: “Is the UN approval necessary for army actions to start?” The poll was conducted on March 5-9th: 61% of American citizens said that they did not see a necessity to obtain such a permission. Thirty-five percent of them said that the UN approval was mandatory.

Let us not dwell upon the truth of those polls. The propaganda machine can always alter any statistics data. It would be better to pay attention to the official position of the White House regarding the issue. The USA was very persistent about the voting to take place during this week. Yet, now the American administration does not mind continuing the discussion until the end of the current week, even next week, if there is a need for that. Probably, this question will be withdrawn from the UN Security Council agenda at all. The Spanish Foreign Minister already released a statement like that before (Spain is one of the countries, which supports the USA’s position).

As observers believe, that statement is the indication of the fact that the USA’s stand on the Iraqi problem changes at the moment. It is not ruled out that it is linked with London’s attempts to change the text of the resolution in order to make more UN Security Council democratic members uphold it. Of course, it goes about temporal members of the Security Council: Chile, Mexico, Angola, Cameroon, Pakistan and Guinea. The opportunity of the American administration to launch the army action in Iraq  depends a lot on those countries. As it turns out, those countries are not ready to go together with Uncle Sam. Moreover, they are tired of playing the role of extras, who just stand, stare and do nothing. The mentioned countries stated that they had an alternative proposition, which would be submitted at a session of the UN Security Council. Representatives of those countries with Chile and Mexico at the head announced that the initiative, the details of which are not known yet, is aimed at overcoming the discrepancy between UN Security Council members. It became known from diplomatic sources that the so-called “group of six,” which unites Chile, Mexico, Angola, Cameroon, Pakistan and Guinea, worked on the draft of the statement, which recommended Iraq to execute several conditions during a certain period of time. The need of the unanimous approval for such a document at the UN Security Council is considered to be the major problem on the way.

To crown it all, Chile’s Foreign Minister Soledad Alvear stated that her country would reject the draft of the resolution, which Great Britain, the USA and Spain submitted to the UN Security Council. Such a decision was made at the session, which Chile’s President Ricardo Lagos conducted by with the leaders of major parties of the country. As it became known, the Mexican government adhered to the same position.

The States realize the vulnerability of its position. As it turns out, in addition to the pressure that the American administration shows on Security Council members, the USA conducts secret negotiations with Baghdad. Baghdad and Washington maintain unofficial contacts with a view to achieve a mutually acceptable way for the regulation of the conflict. However, those contacts have not brought any results yet. This was reported Thursday by the London-based Saudi newspaper al-Hayat. The newspaper wrote with reference to a political source in Baghdad that a series of top meetings between American and Iraqi officials took place in several Arab and European cities. The newspaper’s source informed that Iraq agreed upon all American conditions both regarding disarmament issues, and the issues to set up the coalition government and to have Saddam Hussein as the “non-ruling president.”

The newspaper also wrote that negotiations slowed down at three points. First of all, Iraq rejected the idea to deploy American army bases on its territory. Second of all, Iraq is not ready to recognize the state of Israel immediately. Nevertheless, the newspaper’s source informed that Iraq would agree for that too, albeit to have that as a joint Arab decision. Finally, Baghdad wants Washington to take account of Iraq’s oil obligations to several foreign countries. Yet, the USA requires the complete control over the oil industry.

Although the sides failed to come to agreement, the Iraqi leadership is intended to introduce certain changes to the country’s constitution. Al-Hayat newspaper wrote that amendments would touch upon freedom of press and political parties activities.

Dmitry Litvinovich
PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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