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Jordan, Iraq Seek Ways to Restore Flow of Humanitarian Goods
Jordan and Iraq discussed Wednesday ways to restore the shipment of humanitarian goods held up in Jordan due to the war, Jordan's official Petra News Agency reported.

Iraqi Ambassador to Jordan Sabah Yassin held talks with Jordanian Industry and Trade Minister Salah Basheer in an attempt to find "a flexible mechanism" to enable the normal flow of commodities into Iraq, the report said.

Baghdad accused Amman of unilaterally halting the shipment, while Jordan attributed the stoppage to the suspension of the oil-for-food program by the UN after the US-led war on Iraq started last Thursday.

On Tuesday, Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammad Mahdi Saleh charged that the food and medical supplies under the oil-for-food program were held up in Jordan.

But Basheer denied the charge, saying that it was impossible to deliver the goods without the UN inspectors, who had been evacuated out of Iraq.

Basheer also underlined the dangerous Jordan-Iraq route, which has witnessed a virtual halt in the daily oil supply from Iraq to Jordan since the US-British airstrikes on Baghdad began.

"We would send trucks if the safety of the roads was secured or if Iraq could send its own trucks, so we could deliver the supplies they need," Basheer said.

Iraq consumes 20 percent of Jordan's export, while the kingdom exclusively depends on the annual oil supply from its eastern neighbour.

(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2003)

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