Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
1 - 7 October 1998
Issue No.397
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Current issue | Previous issue | Site map

Bankrupt idea

THE OUTGOING UN coordinator of the oil-for-food programme in Iraq, Denis Halliday, said his 13-month stint had taught him that sanctions was a bankrupt concept. In an interview with Reuters before leaving Baghdad yesterday, Halliday said it was unacceptable to try to implement a humanitarian programme when a country was being held hostage to a sanctions regime, at the expense of innocent people, because member states of the Security Council were not happy with the Iraqi leadership.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tarek Aziz told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that he will raise the issue of links between Israel's intelligence services and the UN weapons inspectors before the United Nations.

Aziz said Iraq believes UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was capable of solving problems regarding the comprehensive review of sanctions, imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War, adding that Baghdad would not make any further concessions on the issue.

Trial demands

LIBYA used its General Assembly speech on Tuesday to outline its position on the proposal to try two Libyans for the bombing of a Pan Am plane over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. Ambassador Abuzeid Dorda reaffirmed his government's acceptance of the trial in the Netherlands but said further guarantees and clarifications were needed before the suspects could be handed over.

Dorda said agreements were needed on who the prosecution would call to give evidence, where the suspects would serve their sentence if convicted and how they would be transported safely to and from the Netherlands.

Dorda also asked for a guarantee that the suspects would not be extradited to the US or Britain. Both countries have rejected what they describe as stalling by Libya and urged it to accept the proposal without conditions, Reuters reported.

Islamist vote

FOR the 20th consecutive year, Kuwaiti Islamists won every seat in the national student union elections. The coalition group, which represents the Muslim Brotherhood, won about 40 per cent of the votes. Independents, with membership mainly from the emirate's big merchant families, came second with 23 per cent, AFP quoted Kuwaiti newspapers as saying.

Islamists hold 16 of the 50 parliamentary seats, pro-government MPs hold 30 seats and the liberals four.