Annan prepared to resume dialogue with Iraq – spokesman

Annan prepared to resume dialogue with Iraq – spokesman

A spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that Mr. Annan was prepared to talk to the Iraqi delegation following a message from President Saddam Hussein that Iraq was willing to resume a dialogue.

"[The Secretary-General] is always open to discuss with a Member State their desire to comply with Security Council resolutions," spokesman Fred Eckhard told a press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York. He was responding to a question about the message from the Iraqi President conveyed to Mr. Annan by Amre Moussa, the secretary-general of the League Of Arab States.

The spokesman said that Mr. Moussa, who had returned from Baghdad, communicated to Mr. Annan the Iraqis’ desire to resume dialogue with the Secretary-General without any preconditions.

According to Mr. Eckhard, the Secretary-General would be looking to set up an appointment at a mutually convenient time. “I mean, he’s prepared to meet with them, so it’s just a matter of fixing a date,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Iraq's oil exports under the UN’s oil-for-food programme fell slightly in the week ending 1 February, according to the Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP), which oversees the humanitarian effort. Exports totalled some 13.5 million barrels, generating revenue of $230 million, bringing the total value of oil exports from Iraq since December 2001 to $1.43 billion.