France's UN Stance Influenced by Iraqi Trade

(London Times) - Stephen Grey and Jon Ugoed-Thomas French businesses have become increasingly bold in their efforts to sell goods that American officials argue are banned under sanctions. Mobile laboratories, chemicals, and communications equipment are among the goods being peddled by the French in Iraq. A senior U.S. official last week warned, "We have a concern that there have been contracts, legal ones, that have supplied component parts (for the Iraqi military)." Documents naming thousands of companies that trade with Baghdad were leaked as France faces accusations that its conciliatory line towards Iraq is heavily influenced by its extensive business links to the country. The U.S.'s Livermore National Laboratory analyzed more than 6,000 oil-for-food contracts and warned of the military capability of many of the goods. One deal by a French company to supply laboratory equipment was described as offering Iraq a "significant direct application" for a weapons of mass destruction program. Its report said the most worrying contract was for pesticide offered for sale to Iraq by Jordan. According to the report, the pesticide had VX, a chemical warfare agent, as its backbone and was "only two or more steps" from being VX.

2003-02-24 00:00:00

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