Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 23:53:01 -0600 (CST)
From: David Muller <>
Organization: South Movement
Subject: Iraq and Yugoslavia vow to resist Western siege
Article: 81823
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

Iraq and Yugoslavia vow to resist Western siege

South News, 8 November 1999

BAGHDAD: Nov 8 (South News)—Iraq and Yugoslavia, both under sanctions, pledged to work together to resist the United States and its hegemony.

“Iraq and Yugoslavia have to work together...against the aggression which is still continuing,” Monday's Baghdad press quoted Yugoslav Foreign Trade Minister Borislav Vukovic as saying during a meeting with President Saddam Hussein.

Iraq and Yugoslavia started trade talks to cement economic cooperation between the two countries, and to strike trade contracts under the United Nations oil-for-food deal.

Vukovic was the only official received by President Saddam Hussein among several visitors from other countries attending the current international Baghdad trade fair. The Iraqi News Agency INA quoting Vukovic as telling Saddam during the meeting on Sunday that Iraq and Yugoslavia should work together in order to end international sanctions on their respective countries.

INA said Vukovic delivered to Saddam a message from Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic “on bilateral relations and means to develop them.”

“We are with you... and both Baghdad and Belgrade are fighting imperialism,” Saddam said in a clear reference to the United States and its Western allies.

Parallels were drawn between the Yugoslav crisis and Iraq's own confrontations with the United States. “In their aggression against Iraq and Yugoslavia, the aggressors have used the same tactics,” Saddam told the Yugoslav visitor.

In December last year the United States and Britain unleashed a four-day-long air campaign against Iraq over weapons inspections, similar to NATO bombings of Yugoslavia.

Baghdad newspapers quoted Iraq's Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan as saying the bombing of Iraq and air strikes against Yugoslavia were intended to impose control of the two countries. The papers said Ramadan made the remark while receiving Gojkovic.

On Sunday, INA said Iraq and Yugoslavia started trade talks to cement economic cooperation. Both countries played major roles in the Non-Aligned Movement and many Yugoslav firms were involved in industrial and construction projects in Iraq before its 1990 trouble with Kuwait.

Earlier this year the Belgrade press said Yugoslavia had signed contracts with Iraq worth $18 million to supply food in exchange for oil. “The Iraqi market is open wide for Yugoslav companies to resume business in Iraq,” the Iraqi press quoted Saleh as saying.

Iraq strongly condemned the NATO air strike campaign against Yugoslavia over its violent repression of ethnic Albanians in the province of Kosovo earlier this year.

INA said there had also been a meeting between Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan and Yugoslav deputy Prime Minister Maja Gojkovic, who was in Baghdad for a women's conference.

“Iraq's support for Yugoslavia is a principled attitude based on Iraq's rejection of interference in the internal affairs of countries,” INA quoted Ramadan as saying. “Yugoslavia will continue defending its sovereignty and destiny despite all sacrifices,” INA quoted Gojkovic as saying.

The 16th Iraqi Women Conference, focusing on “women and children reeling under the 9-year-old UN economic embargo” opened Monday in Baghdad with more than 200 women participants from around the world.

According to UNICEF, more than 1 million children have died as a direct result of the UN economic embargo. Other UN agencies have reported that Iraqi women have the highest rate of nervous disorders among women worldwide. EnKhedu Anna of Mesopotamia, “history's first known woman poet,” is the symbol of the conference, depicting the history and culture of Iraqi women.