A Small Overture From Iraq

Tariq Aziz, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister
A top official said Iraq wants to improve 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 calls for the solving of all disputes through dialogue under the condition that the American administration renounces the policy of aggression and threats."

He made the remarks 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 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror onslaught in New York and Washington. President Bush recently brought the Iraq question into sharper focus when he warned Baghdad that it must allow U.N. weapons inspectors into Iraq or face the consequences.

U.N. 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.

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