August 21, 2008

Egyptian Delegation in Iraq to Discuss Reopening Embassy; Al- Sharqiyah Roundup

Within its morning newscasts on 21 August, Dubai-based Iraqi private Al-Sharqiyah TV reports on US Secretary of State Rice's visit to Baghdad, her talks with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and the Rice-Zebari news conference to be held at noon. The channel also reports on the beginning of an Egyptian delegation's visit to Iraq, the shelling of the Green Zone, and other security and political developments.

Within its 0600 gmt newscast, the channel carries the following reports:

- "An official Egyptian delegation began a visit to Iraq to study [the possibility of] reopening the Egyptian Embassy in Baghdad. The embassy has been closed for two years. In statements to an international news agency, an Iraqi diplomat said that the delegation headed by the assistant to Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu-al- Ghayt includes many diplomats and security experts. He added that the delegation held talks with senior officials at the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. Sources close to those attending the talks held during the first appointment of the Egyptian delegation to Baghdad said that the delegation is thinking of opening its new embassy in the Green Zone as it is considered a more fortified area than others."

- "The Green Zone was exposed to rocket shelling again, when two mortar shells landed in the fortified area in central Baghdad yesterday. Iraqi police said that the two shells landed on the Green Zone from the side of the hanging bridge. The extent of the losses due to the attack is still unknown."

- "Security sources in Al-Amarah City in southern Iraq noted that the Al-Butayrah Airport in northern Al-Amarah was attacked by Katyusha rockets for a second time. The results of the attack are still unknown. A security source noted that four Katyusha rockets fell on the airport, where joint Iraqi-US forces are encamped. The sources pointed out that the rockets were launched from the Al- Basatin area of northwestern Al-Amarah."

- "Iraqi Electricity Minister Karim Wahid attacked the big oil companies for their attempts to impose high prices on Iraq and for neglecting their humanitarian duty with regard to assisting in developing the destroyed Iraqi oil industry. In a press conference held in Moscow, Wahid said that the foreign companies, including the Russian companies, have not responded to the calls for developing projects. He added that, as a result of the foreign companies' unwillingness to work in such circumstances, the Iraqi people suffer from a severe lack of energy. Wahid said that during negotiations on the agreement, the foreign companies relied on Iraq's ignorance of markets in a bid to make it bear high prices. He added that the companies got an unpleasant surprise when they discovered that Iraq fully understands the international commodity and stock markets."

Within its 0700 gmt newscast, the channel carries the following report:

- "Iraqi Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Muhammad al-Hajj Humud announced that Iraqi and US Government delegations have reached a draft agreement that gives the US troops legal justification for their stay in Iraq after 2008 without setting a schedule for their withdrawal. In statements to Reuters, Humud pointed out that the two delegations reached the draft agreement that will be presented before the political leaders for discussion and will leave the issue of whether US troops will be subject to Iraqi law unsettled."

Within its 0800 gmt newscast, the channel carries the following report:

- "US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began a visit to Baghdad today. This comes while the negotiations over the future of the US troops in Iraq have reached their final stages. Upon her arrival, Rice said that Baghdad and Washington are very close to reaching an agreement that organizes the US military presence in Iraq. During her visit, Rice will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki , the US ambassador in Iraq, and with the senior adviser to the secretary of state and coordinator for Iraq, David Satterfield."

Within its 0900 gmt newscast, the channel carries the following report:

- "The Iraqi security agencies discovered a room designated for torture and executions in a mosque in southwestern Baghdad. The room contained the bodies of 22 martyrs killed by treachery."

Within its 1000 gmt newscast, the channel carries the following reports:

- "The US Embassy in Iraq announced that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari will hold today at noon a joint news conference at the premises of the Foreign Ministry. The US Embassy has limited the conference's duration to 20 minutes."

- "The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announced that forces of the Baghdad Operations Command stormed the ministry's premises and searched the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and its departments. He added that this operation involved opening the offices of the ministry's officials and breaking furniture in a way that harms the state and its reputation. The Baghdad Operations Command has not issued any statement on the reasons behind the raid or the identities of the wanted people at the ministry."

- "The Independent High Electoral Commission has revealed that thousands of fake and duplicate names and names of dead people were listed among the files of voters. Judge Sardar Abd-al-Karim, a member of the Commission, said that, as a result of the Commission's presence and inspections of those centres, it could reveal the names, which amount to thousands thus far. More than 100,000 names of Arab nationals who used to receive foodstuffs as part of the food rationing programme were listed in the files of the Trade Ministry."

Originally published by Al-Sharqiyah TV, Dubai, in Arabic 0600-1000 21 Aug 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Middle East. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.