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U.S.: Arabs Back Iraq Arms Embargo

March 20, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department said Arab governments, who are holding an Arab League summit next week, support a U.N. ban on weapons shipments to Iran.

``We think that there is a consensus on tightening controls on weapons of mass destruction and allowing the flow of civilian goods to civilians in Iraq to flow more smoothly,″ spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday. Controls would remain only on weapons, money and smuggling, he said.

Reports from Arab capitals indicate the Arabs will request an end to sanctions at their March 27 summit in Amman, Jordan. Boucher said Assistant Secretary of State Edward Walker found in a tour of the region that anti-sanctions sentiment was focused on consumer goods.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, in his own trip to the Middle East and Persian Gulf last month, decided to propose easing exports of consumer goods and tightening restrictions on weapons materiel.

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