Envoy Explains US Policy in Gulf Crisis [Archives:1998/09/Local News]

March 2 1998

Within his tour of the region, Mr. David Newton, former US Ambassador to Yemen, paid a one-day visit to Yemen. On Thursday February 26th, he paid a call on Professor Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf, Editor of the Yemen Times, to explain the US views, and to listen to Al-Saqqaf’s assessment.
Mr. Newton stated that in all the Arab countries he had visited, he found consensus on the need for full compliance by Iraq to the UN Security Council resolutions. He did point to popular resistance against the possibility of the US military attack.
He insisted that the objective of the US is full compliance. He did express doubt that Iraq would comply fully. “The experience with the Iraqi regime so far is not encouraging.”
Regarding the legal authority under which the US military operation is taking place, Mr. Newton said, “The US believes they are authorized by the existing UN Security Council resolutions.”
The possibility of use of mass destruction weapons against Iraq is there, though the American envoy indicated “it will not be done unless agreed upon by the highest level officials.”
The US had used chemical weapons in Vietnam and Laos. Both Napalm and Agent Orange were dropped on the Ho Chi Minh trail as well as different parts of Indochina.
Professor Al-Saqqaf stated that the Yemeni people are fully opposed to the American threat of violence against the Iraqi people. He also expressed his conclusion that neither the Iraqi regime nor the US administration cares about the plight of the Iraqi people.
Finally he pointed to the lack of sensitivity of US actions and announcements regarding Arab interests and feelings.