Letter: Jordan's compliance with Iraq embargo

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Sir: The pessimistic tone of Lionel Bloch's letter (20 July) is no doubt a consequence of his skewed information. He makes the startling assertion that 'King Hussein . . . allows the port of Aqaba to be used by the Iraqis to break the UN embargo.' It is strange indeed that one so evidently knowledgeable as Mr Bloch should not be aware of Jordan's full compliance with and enforcement of sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations Security Council, despite the heavy financial cost to the nation's economy.

A UN special representative described Jordan as the country hardest hit by the Gulf crisis, after Kuwait. Stranger still that Mr Bloch should be unaware that all shipping coming into Aqaba is thoroughly checked at sea before it arrives at the port, posing yet another impediment to the smooth conduct of Jordan's trade relations with the outside world.

Furthermore, all goods going from Jordan to Iraq are those exempted from Security Council resolutions, such as medicines and foodstuffs, and are thoroughly checked beforehand. Goods moving from Iraq to Jordan, on the other hand, are restricted to personal belongings, foreign contractors' equipment as approved by the UN Sanctions Committee, and crude oil imported in accordance with the arrangements notified to the committee.

Jordan's compliance with the decisions of the committee is attested to by the committee itself. Does Mr Bloch wish to imply that the UN is breaking its own embargo? For this is the only conclusion, on the facts, that can be drawn from his assertions.

Mr Bloch writes of the need for 'the meaning of real compromise' to be understood. However his eagerness to attempt to score a point at the expense of Jordan - a country whose commitment to peace and security has been proved not by isolated gestures, but by consistent and unfailing efforts over the years - bodes ill for those who hold these goals dear.

Yours faithfully,



Jordan Information Bureau

London, SW1