When the sovereignty of Iraq and the legitimate rights of Iraq . . . are respected by the council, then Iraq will abide by the rules of international law . . . .
Q: So, if I understand you clearly, the embargo against Iraq would have to be lifted before you will address the question of the border between Iraq and Kuwait.
A: Well, we are not putting it in the sense of before and after, because there is a biased treatment by a number of members of the council--mainly the United States, first and foremost. This treatment is, first of all, infringing on the sovereignty of Iraq by the implementation of no-fly zones in the north, no-fly zones in the south, the interference in our internal affairs--as it has been officially acknowledged by (National Security Adviser) Tony Lake in his article in "Foreign Affairs"--without justification, against the letter and spirit of U.N. resolutions, is blocking the lifting of the sanctions.
So in such circumstances, Iraq would like to see that its rights are respected . . . . When that is the case, of course, Iraq would feel that it's not being threatened, Iraq would feel that it's not being hurt. In such a climate Iraq would be ready to consider solving all of the remaining problems.
Q: \o7 One problem the British and Americans have is Iraq's seeming inability to accept the permanence of Kuwait. For example, the Iraqi media continue to refer to Kuwait as Iraq's 19th province.\f7
A: The media does not always represent the official position of the government of Iraq. The media is the media.
Q: \o7 But it's hard to believe--\f7
A: I'm the spokesman of the Iraqi government. I have said that this chapter is closed. This is the position of the government of Iraq. No official spokesman on the side of Iraq contradicted what I said. About the media, . . . this talk has stopped. If you will follow and observe what's being said in the Iraqi media, you wouldn't find these things. . .
Q: \o7 Now that you've made some gains at the U.N., what is the next part of your strategy, particularly toward the United States?\f7
A: We would like to have normal relations with the United States of America. We have said that we would not want to be enemies of the United States . . . . But we think the United States has to reconsider its position because it's wrong, it's illegal and its becoming a minority position in the Security Council.
Q: \o7 As a practical matter, can you imagine the U.S. government, just three years after the end of the war when the same leadership is still in place in Baghdad, changing its policy toward Iraq and allowing you to sell massive amounts of oil?\f7
A: Well, that's up to the Administration to decide. This is the right of Iraq according to resolutions that were written by the United States itself. The United States wrote those resolutions and we have implemented those resolutions, so (if) they change their positions they will find themselves in an awkward situation.
Q: \o7 OK, but I don't understand how that gets you to your goal of selling oil.\f7
A: I think that if the United States continues its position in blocking the process in the Security Council, the very rationale, the \o7 raison d'etre \f7 of the resolutions would be damaged. And they will lose their credibility. And when a resolution loses its credibility because of the behavior of a single member, then the result will be that international public opinion will change its attitude toward Iraq. This will be similar to the unilateral position of the United States vis-a-vis Cuba. The United States is imposing an embargo on Cuba but the world is not imposing an embargo on Cuba.
You see, now Iraq is under embargo because there is a U.N. resolution. Even the Philippines is implementing it. Argentina is implementing it. Venezuela, Norway. But when Iraq implements its obligations according to the U.N. resolution, then why should the international community boycott Iraq? It will be just an American position, and if I were in the place of the American Administration I wouldn't love to find myself isolated and in the minority.
Q: \o7 Considering your experience in dealing with the previous Administration, especially in the negotiations before the war, how do you rate the performance of this Administration's--\f7
Q: \o7 --who are running day-to day policy.\f7
A: They have this foolish policy of dual containment. That's just a theory put on paper--but in practice who is being contained? First of all, Iran is not contained by any means. Iran can buy whatever it wants from all over the world. It has money. It has borders. It has ports. There is no containment on Iran.
And even Iraq is not contained in the sense Tony Lake mentioned in his article. A nation is not a bunch of chickens to put in a cage and contain it and feed it, give it the small amounts of food you would like to give it. This is very arrogant and shallow kind of thinking.