U.N. Security Council drafts resolution on air embargo of Iraq and Kuwait

September 20, 1990|By New York Times News Service

UNITED NATIONS -- The five permanent Security Council members were reported close to final agreement yesterday on a new resolution banning all passenger and cargo flights to and from Iraq and Kuwait unless the planes are on an approved humanitarian mission.

The proposed new resolution also leaves open the possibility of further measures such as military action.

Details of the proposed air embargo are set out in a draft resolution that the five permanent members have nearly completed.

Diplomats from the five -- the United States, the Soviet Union, France, Britain and China -- said they were still working on the text, which they planned to present to the 10 rotating council members today, seeking their support at a meeting of the full council scheduled for tomorrow. But the diplomats said changes of substance were unlikely.

The proposed ending of all regular air links with Iraq and Kuwait appears to be largely symbolic because air traffic to and

from these countries has been at a virtual standstill since the Security Council first imposed its embargo. The only planes reported to have flown cargo into Iraq are a few Libyan craft. The action would appear to put pressure on Jordan to cancel the regular Iraqi Air flights from Amman to Baghdad, which have been Iraq's only remaining commercial air connection to the outside world.

If approved, the resolution will be the eighth condemnation of Iraq by the United Nations since Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait.

While some of the proposed measures would add to the pressure on Iraq, diplomats said a primary goal of the new resolution was to provide an unimpeachable basis in international law for the complete cutoff in all commercial and financial dealings with Iraq and Kuwait that the council ordered Aug. 6. Some countries had contended that the ban was not airtight.

The emerging draft resolution also calls for the detention of Iraqi merchant ships throughout the world, requires countries to freeze Iraqi and Kuwaiti bank balances and other financial assets, and threatens similar trade and financial restrictions against any country violating the present trade embargo against them. This would not affect the holdings of the Kuwaiti government in exile.

The resolution says Iraq's use of foreign nationals as a "human shield" against military attack and other acts of aggression against Kuwaitis and foreigners violate its obligations under the Geneva Conventions on the rules of war. And it tells all specialized U.N. agencies, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, to stop giving technical assistance to Iraq and Kuwait.

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