Exile on Main Street

Discussion in 'Politics' started by OPTIONAL777, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. Saddam agrees to send top aide to discuss possible exile

    Tuesday, January 14, 2003
    CAIRO — Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has for the first time signaled openness to an Arab plan for his exile in an effort to prevent a U.S.-led war against Iraq.

    Arab diplomatic sources said Saddam has agreed to send a senior aide to discuss "personal issues." The sources said the aide could arrive in Cairo over the weekend for talks on a plan to organize asylum in a Middle East country.

    On Monday, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said Saddam would never leave Iraq

    Saddam's envoy was identified as Ali Hassan Al Majid, a senior member of the Iraqi Revolutionary Council. Majid, known as "Chemical Ali," has been accused of ordering Iraqi chemical weapons attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq in the 1980s, Middle East Newsline reported.

    The sources said Saddam has not accepted the Arab plan, promoted by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. But they said the Iraqi president has agreed to explore the prospect that he, his family and aides would find safe haven in an Arab capital along with Western guarantees that he would not be prosecuted by any foreign government or international court.

    On Tuesday, the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat reported that Saddam plans to send a message through Al Majid that the Iraqi president would not consider any plan for exile. The newspaper quoted an Iraqi official as saying that Al Majid's visit is meant to update Mubarak on the situation in Iraq and the activities of United Nations weapons inspectors.

    "Saddam Hussein will never leave his country, but will stay there until the last Iraqi shot is fired," Aziz told the London-based British Broadcasting Corp. "The danger will be greater for Iraq if the president leaves."

    But the sources said Saddam agreed that Al Majid would discuss what they termed "personal issues" with his Egyptian hosts. The sources said Al Majid, Saddam's cousin, was chosen over Iraq's prime minister or foreign minister.

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who said any exile plan must be approved by the United States, is expected to meet Al Majid. Diplomatic sources said this will be the first high-level contact between Baghdad and Cairo since the visit by Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri to Egypt in November.