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Iraq Wants To View Solar Eclipse

August 2, 1999

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Iraq reportedly has asked U.N. chief Kofi Annan to persuade the United States and Britain to halt overflights Aug. 11 to enable Iraqis to peacefully observe the last total solar eclipse of the millennium.

Iraq’s northern city of Mosul will be among the best placed areas to view the eclipse, the state-run weekly magazine Nabed al-Shebab said Monday.

Certain parts of Mosul, 250 miles north of Baghdad, are expected to be in total darkness for up to two minutes, the magazine said.

The area around Mosul has been repeatedly targeted by allied planes patrolling the northern no-fly zone in Iraq.

``Iraq has asked Kofi Annan and the world community ... to halt aerial military action by the United States and Britain during this scientific and astronomical day,″ the magazine said.

U.S. and British planes maintain no-fly zones set up over northern and southern Iraq in 1991-92. The northern zone is intended to protect Kurds; the southern to protect Shiite Muslims.

Iraq does not recognize the no-fly zones and its air defenses have challenged the allied planes since December. The U.S. and British warplanes have responded by attacking Iraqi sites.

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