IRAQ CALLS ON WEST TO UNFREEZE IRAQI ASSETS

Iraq's health minister said Nov. 26 the West's refusal to unfreeze Iraqi assets to allow Baghdad to buy life-saving drugs was "the crime of the century."The minister, Abdel-Salam Mohammad Saeed, challenged Western powers to live up to their human rights ideals by following the lead of Britain, which unfroze some assets over the weekend for Iraq to buy drugs in exchange for the freedom of jailed businessman Ian Richter. Britain was the first major Western power to loosen its grip on about $4 billion of assets frozen in reprisal for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait 16 months ago.

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