BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE XIII NAM SUMMIT - KUALA LUMPUR, 20-25 FEBRUARY 2003
Iraq Pins Hope On NAM And OIC
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- Iraq hopes that
Malaysia, the incoming president of the Non-Aligned
Movement (NAM) and the Organisation of Islamic
Conference (OIC), will take up the role in speaking
out against the aggression by big nations.
Iraq's Industry and Mineral Minister Muyassar Rija
Shalah said that Malaysia should use the two
international forums to fight for the Palestinian and
the Iraqi cause.
"These two issues represent a very important sign as
far as NAM and OIC are concerned," he told a joint
media conference with Foreign Minister Datuk Seri
Syed Hamid Albar after signing the minutes of the
Seventh Iraq-Malaysia Joint Commission Meeting (JCM)
here which ended Friday.
He said that the most important thing now was to make
the United States and Britain feel isolated in their
quest to bomb Iraq.
"Then they would actually feel isolated when voices
of the nations opposing aggression are heard. They
won't dare to court aggression," he said.
Muyassar said that Iraq is a peace-loving country and
that any attack on the country, described as one of
the 'axis of evil' by the US, would destabilize the
He said that the government and the people of Iraq
would stand united to defend themselves against any
aggression by the US or Britain.
Asked if President Saddam Hussein would attend the
NAM or OIC meeting, he said that the conferences
would be attended "at the highest possible level".
On another note, he said that the JCM today was
intended to expand and develop trade between the two
Meanwhile, Syed Hamid said that Malaysia was deeply
concerned over the problems unfolding in West Asia
over the allegation that Iraq has continued to
develop weapons of mass destruction and the
subsequent threats of war by the US.
"Malaysia welcomes Iraq's unconditional acceptance of
the UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and
subsequent full cooperation of Iraq with the weapons
inspectors, but Malaysia is greatly alarmed over the
military build-up by the superpower in the region as
this will only destabilize the region which is
already grappling with the unjust Israeli aggression
on Palestine," he said.
Syed Hamid said that Malaysia strongly felt that the
continued trade and economic sanctions against Iraq
would only serve to perpetuate the suffering of the
He also said that during Malaysia's tenure as
chairman of NAM and OIC, it would exert every effort
in addresing growing problems and concerns of the
developing and Muslim world in meeting the evolving
global environment and challenges.
On trade with Iraq, he said that Malaysia had always
viewed Iraq as one of its closest friends and
important trading partner in the region.
Trade between the two nations may be small but has
certainly shown positive signs for improvement, Syed
For the period January-October of last year,
Malaysia's bilateral trade with Iraq increased by 145
per cent from US$27 million in 2001 to US$66 million.
Malaysian companies have been awarded contract worth
US$953 million in Iraq, the second biggest after
Vietnam among the Asian countries. -- BERNAMA