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CNN Today

No-Fly Zones, Sanctions Fill Mutual Source of Anxiety For Iraq, U.S.

Aired February 23, 2001 - 1:26 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, so far as we know, it has been a quiet day in both Iraqi no-fly zones. But 10 years after the Gulf War, those zones are filling a mutual source of anxiety, and so are those U.N.sanctions.

CNN's Jane Arraf joins us on the telephone now from Baghdad -- Jane.

JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, Iran, in fact, has just reported more U.S. and British planes of violating its air space in the south of Iraq today. Apparently, no clashes after yesterday's U.S. strike in the northern no-fly zone.

An Iraqi military spokesman said Iraq air defenses fired at U.S./British planes Friday over the southern provinces. No word of U.S. response.

Iraq made no mention of the north where U.S. attacked yesterday in first strike since they bombed the outskirts of Baghdad a week ago.

The U.S. military spokesman in Turkey, where the planes take off for Iraq's northern side, said there was no coalition response today to what the U.S. called "continuing Iraqi threats to its pilots."

What the U.S. calls self-defense, Iraq calls criminal aggression. And some of its neighbors seem to be agreeing with it. Turkey, a key U.S. ally, improving ties with Iraq as well. Had some complaints of Washington, that it wasn't notified of the strikes.

Iraq has reported aiming missile and anti-aircraft fires at U.S. and British planes almost every day since last week's attack, an indication that the bombing has not dissuaded them from trying to do what it's been trying to do for the last two years: shoot down a plane to drive home its point that it controls its own skies -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And, as far as the sanctions go, Iraq has certainly been trying as well, as we know, to end them. And Richard Roth said last week from the U.N. that some Iraqi government officials were going to meet at the U.N. soon on that score. Is that meeting still planned?

ARRAF: That meeting is stilled planned. There were some talk that it might be in doubt after the bombing near Baghdad on Friday. But Foreign Minister Mohammad Sa'eed as-Sahaf has headed for New York, and he's on schedule to talk to Kofi Annan for the first time in virtually two years, to discuss breaking this impasse over sanctions.

There's not a whole lot of hope that they will make a lot of progress. Iraq has managed to erode the sanctions, something that President Bush alluded to in his first press conference yesterday.

Reporters report there's no real mechanism in place to control what comes in, other than the approved U.N. oil-for-food program. And the feeling is that the sanctions are not just working.

As for these smart sanctions that are being talked about, Iraq says that's a stupid idea. Basically it's an attempt by the U.S. and Britain to find a safehaven mechanism for sanctions that haven't work. And there's little hope that Iraq will go along with smart sanctions, either -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Jane Arraf in Baghdad, thanks.

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