Indonesia Calls for Lifting of Sanctions on Iraq

Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid called for the lifting of international sanctions against Iraq and said he would visit that country in the coming months.

"Indonesia would like to see the blockade on Iraq lifted soon," Wahid said after meeting visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Saturday.

He added that he would visit Baghdad at the end of this summer."

Chavez, who arrived here Saturday morning for a brief visit as part of his tour of countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), shared the view, saying the U.N. sanctions against Iraq were an injustice causing intense misery to the country's children.

"Who has the right to (cause) an innocent child to die there. Let God have pity on the souls of those who act that way. I think the time has come for it to be over," Chavez was quoted by national newspapers Sunday as saying.

The sanctions were imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Chavez earlier paid a brief visit to Baghdad, where said he met with President Saddam Hussein.

Wahid said that during his 90-minute meeting with Chavez, the two countries had agreed to cooperate in oil and gas exploration.

"We have agreed on the idea of forming a joint effort to explore Indonesia's oil and gas resources and to develop the economy in general," he added.

Chavez, whose country currently holds the revolving presidency of OPEC, is due to travel from Jakarta to Libya, Nigeria and Algeria, before returning next week to Caracas where an OPEC summit has been scheduled to be held from September 27 to 30.

He said that he had come to Indonesia to invite Wahid to attend the summit and that Wahid had accepted.

Chavez left Jakarta for Tripoli, Libya, Saturday afternoon.

People's Daily Online ---