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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iraq Slams UN Vote, Hints at Recognition

BAGHDAD -- Iraq, having stopped short of recognizing Kuwait, complained Tuesday about a UN resolution restricting its troop movements.


After striking a conciliatory tone Monday, editorials in the government-controlled media denounced the resolution as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.


"The call is a blatant interference in Iraq's internal affairs," the government newspaper Al-Jumhouriya said.


The resolution said Iraq could not reinforce its troops in the south and risked a Western military response if it did so.


It followed several days of tension that began with an Iraqi troop buildup near Kuwait, which Iraq invaded in 1990 and occupied for seven months, and led to a huge U.S. military deployment in the region before the Iraqis pulled back.


Al-Jumhouriya had described the resolution as "positive" Monday but explained its switch of stance Tuesday by saying this referred to Iraq's fight to have UN trade sanctions eased or lifted.


"The contents of the resolution are obviously negative," it said.


It was also difficult to interpret how close Iraq might be to recognizing Kuwait -- a main UN demand if the sanctions imposed after the 1990 invasion are to be lifted.


A special session of the Iraqi parliament was called Monday amid speculation recognition was imminent. It was not revealed if this was even discussed.


The body, dominated by the ruling Baath Party, voted to back President Saddam Hussein in his handling of the dispute.


Iraq Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz reiterated Iraq's position at the United Nations, but gave no clarification of when or how recognition of Kuwait might come, offering only the comment it was "under consideration."Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev last week secured a pledge from Baghdad to accept the existence of the oil-rich emirate, which it claims was historically part of its territory, in exchange for a lifting of sanctions after a six-month period of testing the UN monitoring of Iraq's arms industry.


Iraq declared in a communique Oct. 13 its "readiness" to recognize Kuwait in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.


But Kozyrev, visiting Kuwait the next day, apparently erred by going a step too far and announcing the "good news" that Iraq had already accepted Kuwait and its borders without conditions attached.


Kuwait in turn demanded formal recognition on paper and presented to the United Nations, not just a verbal promise.


Kozyrev proposed to the United Nations in New York on Monday that the Security Council should consider lifting the embargo on Iraqi oil exports after an arms-monitoring test period of six or seven months. But the United States and Britain criticized this.