Iraq and YU to build trade relations

BAGHDAD, Jan 31, 2000 -- (Reuters) Iraq and Yugoslavia pledged on Sunday to build up their trading relationship to counter international isolation and economic sanctions.

Yugoslav Trade Minister Borislav Vukovic was visiting Iraq's Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan nearly three months after the nations signed an economic and trade cooperation deal.

The Iraqi News Agency quoted Ramadan as saying Baghdad wanted to develop its relations with Belgrade "to confront the aggressive American policy against Iraq and Yugoslavia."

Vukovic said his country wanted to expand its relations with Iraq because "Iraq has great economic potential and (has confronted) arrogant U.S. policy."

Last November's trade deal falls under Baghdad's oil-for-food agreement with the United Nations. The program allows Iraq to use some oil revenues to meet humanitarian needs.

Both Iraq and Yugoslavia suffer sanctions, Baghdad because of its 1990 invasion of Kuwait and Belgrade because of its role in a series of Balkan wars over the past decade.