SECURITY COUNCIL SAYS IRAQI FLIGHT TO SAUDI ARABIA PROCEEDED WITHOUT CONSULTATION WITH SANCTIONS COMMITTEE19970416 Presidential Statement States Iraq Requested Release of Frozen Assets to Pay for Pilgrimage Flights
The Security Council this afternoon said that the Iraqi aircraft that flew from Baghdad, Iraq, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 9 April had done so without consultation with the Security Council Committee established to monitor sanctions against Iraq.
In a statement read out by its President, Antonio Monteiro (Portugal), the Council noted that on 3 February the Government of Iraq had requested clearance from the Committee, established pursuant to resolution 661 (1990), for the release of $50 million from frozen Iraqi assets being held in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to cover pilgrimage costs, and requested the Committee's agreement for flights by Iraqi Airways to transport pilgrims to Jeddah during the holy pilgrimage season.
According to the Council statement, the Committee had responded on 3 March that it would be in a better position to consider the release of the funds if the request were to be submitted by a country willing to release the funds in question. The Government of Iraq then proceeded with the flight without specific consultation with the Committee.
The Council drew to the attention of Member States their obligations under resolutions 661 (1990), 670 (1990) and other relevant resolutions. The Council also underlined its respect for the obligation of Muslims to perform the Hajj.
The meeting, which began at 1:10 p.m., was adjourned at 1:13 p.m.
The full text of the presidential statement, which will be issued as document S/PRST/1997/21, reads as follows:
"The Security Council has considered the case of an Iraqi aircraft which flew from Baghdad, Iraq to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 9 April 1997 and then departed.
Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6360 3768th Meeting (PM) 16 April 1997
"The Government of Iraq, in a letter dated 3 February 1997, had requested clearance from the Committee established pursuant to resolution 661 (1990) for the release of 50 million dollars from the frozen Iraqi assets being held in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to cover pilgrimage costs and requested the agreement of the Committee for flights by Iraqi Airways to transport those pilgrims to Jeddah, during the holy pilgrimage season.
"The Committee answered in a letter dated 3 March 1997 that it would be in a better position to consider the release of the frozen Iraqi funds if a request was submitted by a country which was willing to release such funds to meet the pilgrimage costs.
"The Government of Iraq proceeded with this particular flight without specific consultation with the Committee. Such consultation would have allowed the Committee to consider the matter and to determine whether the flight required Committee approval under the relevant resolutions.
"The Security Council draws to the attention of Member States their obligations under resolutions 661 (1990), 670 (1990) and other relevant resolutions.
"The Council underlines its respect for the obligation of Muslims to perform the Hajj pilgrimage."
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