'Aziz on U.S. 'Lies', Says Oil-For-Food, 'Oil-For-Nothing' from Paris Radio Monte Carlo 19 March 1997 Translated from Arabic

From: ebeid123@bellatlantic.net (Ibrahim & Maria Ebeid)

[FBIS Translated Text] Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq 'Aziz is currently on a visit to Brussels at a time when Iraq is complaining of the failure to implement the oil-for-food agreement. Our correspondent in the Belgian capital 'Abd-al-Hamid al-Yahyawi met with him and asked him about his reasons for visiting Brussels. He said:

[Begin recording] ['Aziz] We have the desire to hold dialogue with the states and groups of states which were party to imposing the embargo on Iraq. We want to ask them why the embargo continues to exists, what are their problems as far as we are concerned, and what is it that worries them. Every time there was a chance for a direct and frank dialogue with these states, we managed to reach a relatively better understanding with them and this helps alleviate the isolation imposed on Iraq and clarify the situation of these states.

Europe is important to us and it was a significant partner both commercially and politically. Therefore, it is important to us that the Europeans find out the truth and that they are not absolutely affected by the U.S. position which is biased, fabricated, tries to cover up facts, spreads lies, and exaggerates. Today's meeting serves this purpose.

[Al-Yahyawi] In your opinion, is the oil-for-food formula aimed at a gradual lifting of the embargo on Iraq before it is completely lifted?

['Aziz] I don't think so. When the Americans drew up this formula in 1995, they wanted it not to be implemented and to use it as an instrument to pressure and politically defame Iraq. When we said OK, let us start implementation, you know the outcome. Money goes to the United Nations and the Compensations Fund. So far the Iraqi people did not get so much as a loaf of bread. This oil-for- food is oil-for- nothing [preceding sentence in English].

[Al-Yahyawi] Do you believe that Iraq has fully complied with Resolution 986?

['Aziz] Yes we complied with it and fulfilled every single one of our obligations. However, the obstacles placed by the United States in the Sanctions Committee are preventing food and medicine from getting to the Iraqi people. The whole program is a six-month program. Three months have passed and the Iraqi people did not receive a single loaf of bread, or even an aspirin.

[Al-Yahyawi] What can the EU do?

['Aziz] First of all, we are hoping that the EU will adopt a stand independent from the U.S. position. The United states is benefiting from this situation. It is profiting from Iraq's political and economic isolation. The Europeans on the other hand are not. Why should Europe adopt the same stand as the United States? It has its own interests with Iraq, and it is in its interests that the embargo be lifted. We are hoping that once the U.S. lies are explained to the Europeans, they will adopt an independent and objective position. [end recording]