Iraq wants to re-evaluate ties with the United States, says top official

Monday, December 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ A top Iraqi official said Baghdad wants to re-evaluate its ties with the United States by using dialogue instead of threats and aggression.

The Monday edition of the official al-Qadissiya newspaper quoted Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz as saying Iraq wanted to end its problems with America.

``Iraq calls for the solving of all disputes through dialogue under the condition that the American administration renounces the policy of aggression and threats,'' Aziz reportedly said on Sunday during an address to a visiting U.S. peace activist group.

Kathy Kelly, co-founder of the Chicago-based Voices in the Wilderness group, said she was opposed to the threat of U.S. strikes against Iraq and called for the lifting of the economic sanctions, the newspaper reported.

Fears exist that the United States may shift its sights toward Iraq after Afghanistan in its war against terrorism. President Bush recently warned Baghdad that it must allow U.N. weapons inspectors into Iraq or face the consequences.

Stringent U.N. economic sanctions imposed on Iraq since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait cannot be lifted until the world body deems that Iraq no longer produces weapons of mass destruction.