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U.N. Sanctions Collapsing in Iraq

November 2, 2000

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ U.N. sanctions against Iraq are crumbling, Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said Wednesday, citing broad foreign participation in this year’s Baghdad International Fair despite restrictions.

``The embargo has started fizzling ... with all the excuses for keeping it in place falling away,″ Ramadan said in an address at the fair.

Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu-Ragheb arrived Wednesday in the first such visit by a high-ranking Arab official _ the latest sign of the growing support in the face of the sanctions imposed on Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1990.

Iraqi officials hope his visit will usher in a new era in Iraq’s relations with neighboring Jordan and the rest of the Arab world.

U.N. rules restrict civilian flights to Iraq. It was not clear whether Abu-Ragheb had obtained U.N. clearance for the flight.

The United States advised Jordan not to make the visit, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Wednesday in Washington. He said the sanctions remain effective, despite Iraq’s improving relations with some Arab countries.

The United States and Britain are the main proponents of keeping the sanctions in place until Iraq proves it has surrendered weapons of mass destruction.

Iraqi officials said foreign trade officials from 12 countries and 18,000 businesspeople from 45 countries were attending the fair.

Those attending the fair were hoping to expand exports to Iraq under an exception to the sanctions that allows Iraq to export oil as long as the proceeds are used to buy food, medicine and humanitarian goods for its people.

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