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Meanwhile -- in Baghdad



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Iraq accuses US of show of force ahead of UN vote

BAGHDAD, Dec 6 (AFP) -

Iraq's ruling Baath party accused the United States on Monday of putting
on a show of force at the United Nations ahead of a crucial vote on
sanctions and disarmament.

"The United States, with smaller resolutions, is trying to flex its
political muscle and to appear capable of pushing through the resolutions
it imposes on the Security Council," said the party's newspaper,
Ath-Thawra.

Iraq has rejected two US- and British-backed resolutions since last month
that extend the UN oil-for-food deal, a humanitarian programme, while the
UN Security Council prepares for a vote on a comprehensive resolution.

The United States has predicted that the vote will take place this week.

The British-drafted resolution links an easing of sanctions to Iraqi
acceptance of a new arms control regime.

Iraq's Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan on Monday urged Iraqis to
"smash" the embargo, the official INA news agency reported.

"The embargo will not be lifted by a resolution from the (UN) Security
Council as long as the United States imposes its hegemony and its will on
the United Nations," the vice president said.

The major powers in the Security Council have been divided on policy
toward Baghdad since the United States and Britain waged an air war
against Iraq in December 1998.

Iraq, which has been under sanctions since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait,
rejects the British draft on the grounds that its weapons of mass
destruction have already been eliminated.

Baghdad is demanding an immediate and unconditional lifting of sanctions.


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