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EMBER 12, 1998
Tensions on ian
IRAQ from page 1
ed private U.S. citizens in Kuwait
The United Nations withdrew sev
eral hundred weapons inspectors and
other U.N. staff from Baghdad in light
of the possibility of American
airstrikes. The U.N. Security Council
called an emergency meeting as
Secretary-General Kofi Annan
appealed to Saddam to immediately
resume cooperation with inspectors.
Annan said he was “saddened and bur
dened” by Iraq’s defiance.
The Security Council passed a res
olution this week condemning Iraqis
noncooperation, but it did not include
an explicit go-ahead for military action.
The Clinton administration contends
that earlier resolutions concerning Iraq
give it the right to use force, although
some U.N. members dispute that
The timing of any possible U.S.
action was unclear.
Clinton, in his speech, issued no
explicit threat to attack Iraq but made
clear he believed that failure to enforce
the U.N.’s demands for arms inspec
tions would be a costly mistake.
“If the inspectors are not permitted
to visit suspect sites or monitor compli
ance at known production facilities,
they may as well be in Baltimore, not
Baghdad,” Clinton said. “That would
open a window of opportunity for Iraq
to rebuild it$ arsenal of weapons and
delivery systems in months -1 say
again, in months - not years.”
Attitudes toward Baghdad
appeared to be hardening elsewhere.
Foreign ministers from Norway,
Sweden, Denmark, Finland and
Iceland jointly condemned Iraq’s
refusal to cooperate with U.N. inspec
tors, according to a statement issued
Wednesday in Oslo, Norway.
In Moscow, Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s
ultranationalist party failed today to
win approval for a parliamentary
motion calling for sanctions against
Iraq to be lifted
However, Prakash Shah, die U.N.
envoy to Irag, said Iraq’s Deputy Prime
Minister Tariq Aziz told him
Wednesday that Iraqi officials would
not change their position.
“They will nqt be able to desist
from their position unless die Security
Council takes some action in regard to
die sanctions on Iraq,” Shah said, sum
marizing Aziz’s views.
A leading Arabic newspaper
quoted diplomats today as saying the
United States and Britain have planned
a three-phase strike against Iraq that
could involve the deployment of troops
in die country.
The United States and Britain
maintain there is Middle East backing
for a military strike, but Arab officials
have offered no public support
Jordan’s Prime Minister Fayez
Tarawneh met Wednesday with Saudi
Arabia’s Kind Fahd and Crown Prince
Abdullah and said later die two coun
tries “are in agreement that the crisis...
should be solved diplomatically.”
“It appears that attempts to defuse
the crisis could be late.”
Israeli Cabinet narrowly
passes peace agreement
■ Ratification of the
accord will lead to a troop
withdrawal from the West
Bank by early next yean
JERUSALEM (AP) - The Israeli
Cabinet narrowly ratified the peace
agreement with the Palestinians
Wednesday after a two-week delay and
some U.S. prodding, setting the stage
for a troop withdrawal from 13 percent
of the West Bank by the end of January.
The accord was approved by eight
of the 17 ministers after a seven-hour
oeoaie. rive mimsiers-aostamea ana
four^etfcf'against in what appeared to
be a political blow for Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, who had expect
ed broader support
Over the past two weeks, with
Netanyahu postponing Cabinet debate
four times, the United States urged
Israel to try to stick to the original
timetable of the land-for-security
Saying that it was difficult to “part
with even one square centimeter” of
the land, Netanyahu attached four stip
ulations to the agreement that could
cause new disruptions.
Under one o£the conditions,
Netanyahu said he would bring each
stage of the phased pullback over the
next three months to the Cabinet for
separate approval. Ministers will be
asked to determine whether the
Palestinians have met their security
obligations under die accord, he said.
Netanyahu also demanded that the
Palestine National Council hold a for
mal vote by mid-December to revoke
clauses in the PLO founding charter
that call for Israelis destruction.
The third stipulation said Israel
reserved the right to annex areas of the
West Bank if Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat went ahead with plans to unilat
erally declare a Palestinian state in
May, at the end of the five-year auton
In a fourth clause, Netanyahu said
that in an additional pullback to which
Israel committed itself last year, the
Palestinians would receive no more
than 1 percent of the West Bank.
ucspiic me new vunuiuuus,
Netanyahu pledged to go ahead with
implementing the agreement. Israel
already has fallen behind in ,the 12
week tithe table negotiated at last
months Mideast summit .
Netanyahu said he would permit
the opening of the Palestinian airport
next week and also would begin releas
ing Palestinian security prisoners at
that time. In aU, 750 Palestinians held
by Israel for security offenses are to be
freed by January.
Another key Israeli commitment
to withdraw from 2 percent of the West
Bank by Monday, likely will not be car
ried oth on time, said Netanyahu advis
er David Bar-Illan. The troop redeploy
ment cannot take place until parlia
ment has approved the deal Tuesday
and will likely be carried out a week
Palestinian negotiator Hassan
Asfour said he believed Netanyahu
attached new conditions to please
“We appreciate the Cabinet
approval,*but we will close our ears and
eyes to the conditions, because they are
for them and not for us,” Asfour told
The Associated Press.
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