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|Thursday, June 08, 2000, updated at 09:05(GMT+8)|
Iraqi Speaker Heads for Italy for VisitIraqi National Assembly (parliament) Speaker Saadoun Hamadi left for Rome on Wednesday for a visit to Italy in a bid to improve relations between the two countries.
During the visit, Hamadi is expected to discuss with Italian officials on ways to improve bilateral relations, said the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
Hamadi will also discuss the issue of the decade-old U.N. embargo on Iraq with Italian officials and legislators, in addition to the almost-daily aggressions by the U.S. and British warplanes over northern and southern Iraq.
Iraq has been under stringent United Nations embargo since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The end of the embargo is still not in sight due to the vehement opposition of the United States and Britain.
The U.S. and British planes have been patrolling the two no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq and regularly bombing targets inside the zones since December 1998, when the two countries launched four consecutive nights of massive air strikes against Iraq.
Italy is sympathetic with the Iraqi people, who have been the hardest hit by the crippling U.N. embargo. On April 3, a European plane carrying four people, among them three from Italy, landed at Baghdad's Al-Rashed military airport to protest the U.N. embargo.
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