US to lift naval blockade of Aqaba
Tuesday 26 April 1994
For all Mr Christopher's assertion that the new system sould 'sustain and enhance sanctions against Iraq' he has in effect gone along with King Hussein's suggestion. The King, while demonstrating that Jordan is complying with UN sanctions, will not have to explain away the humiliating presence of US troops on Jordanian soil, merely inspectors from what Mr Christopher described as a non-profit making, independent organisation.
In return, King Hussein pledged Jordan would resume a full role in the search for a comprehensive Middle East peace. On 28 March he said Jordan would not resume full participation in peace talks until the Aqaba issue was resolved.
Jordan has always felt hard done by over the blockade on Aqaba. 'Jordan was treated in a way different from other (states)' the King said yesterday. 'I made it very, very clear that we are adhering to UN Security Council resolutions. But we are very, very deeply concerned at the suffering of the Iraqi people.'
Since Iraq's only port, Basra, was closed by hostilities at the start of the Iraq-Iran war 14 years ago, it has relied on supplies being shipped to Aqaba and transported through Jordan. After imposition of UN sanctions in August 1990, the Multinational Interception Force has stopped, searched and often turned away shipping destined for the port. Many ships were suspected of sanctions-busting.
A US official who briefed reporters after the meeting yesterday said the 12-nation naval force had turned away 460 ships - about one in 10 - but only six because it was suspected they were carrying contraband cargo for Iraq. The rest had papers out of order.
Jordan said it was losing hundreds of millions of pounds a year because of the interceptions and shipping agents complained they were paying huge insurance rates. Mr Christopher said some 'fine tuning' was needed to put the arrangements into effect. This he expected 'in the very near future'.
Mr Christopher is going on to Geneva and then to Riyadh for a meeting with Arab allies from the Gulf War with Iraq. He is then due to travel to Egypt, Israel and Syria. His Middle East tour was to have taken place two weeks ago, so that he would have been in the region on the date - 13 April - set by the PLO-Israel accords for the implementation of Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area. He had been hoping to bask in the reflected glory of this achievement, even though it owed nothing to US diplomacy. Agreement, however, has still not been reached.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, has been holding talks in Moscow on the first visit there by an Israeli prime minister. Although the Soviet Union had been the first country to recognise the state of Israel after it declared independence in 1948, Moscow has always been an unequal partner in the search for peace.
Russia is formally a co-sponsor of the current Middle East peace talks but plays second fiddle to the US.
GAZA CITY - Israeli soldiers shot and wounded 12 Palestinians yesterday during skirmishes in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources said, AFP reports. Eight were hit in Jabaliya camp when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators throwing stones at them.
- 1 Three of Pope Francis' relatives die in Argentina car crash, including two young great-nephews
Syria conflict: President Assad finally turns on Isis as government steps up campaign against militant strongholds
Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness
Celebrity Big Brother 2014: Audley Harrison meets Kellie Maloney: 'Was Kellie really the best you could come up with?'
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...
£30000 - £44000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Web deve...
£40000 - £65000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Senior A...
£35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Web deve...