Baghdad rejects Bush conditions; Iraqi minister threatens Israel with attack
A top Iraqi official said Baghdad opposes the return of U.N. weapons inspectors and U.S. President Bush's speech to the United Nations was "full of lies."
"We do not accept Bush's conditions," Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said in an interview in Baghdad that was broadcast Friday. "Iraq does not accept Bush's conditions. He wants to control Iraq, he wants Iraq's oil, he wants to protect Israel," Aziz charged.
"The unconditional return of the inspectors will not solve the problem," Aziz said in the interview with the Saudi-owned MBC television network. The interview was conducted Thursday.
"We hope it (the attack) is not inevitable, but we are preparing for the worst scenario," Aziz said in the interview. "We don't want malice, and if there is a reasonable way that will prevent the malice, we will deal with it." Aziz said Baghdad would "teach (the Americans) a lesson" if they attacked.
Vowing that the Iraqis would "fight bravely" if attacked by the United States, Aziz repeated that Baghdad had no chemical or biological weapons and said Bush had failed to come up with evidence that it was seeking to obtain nuclear material.
Late Thursday, Aziz told reporters in Baghdad that "Bush's speech (to the United Nations) was full of lies and fabrications."
Meanwhile, an Iraqi minister threatened Israel with attack if it participated in any US-led military action against the regime of Saddam Hussein, in comments published in an Emirati newspaper.
"Iraq will deliver a deep blow to Israel that it will not forget if it interferes in the war," Trade Minister Mohammed Mahdi Saleh told the Al-Khaleej newspaper.
The Iraqi trade minister warned Bush against pressing ahead with his threat to the UN General Assembly Thursday to strike Iraq if it does not disarm. Washington should "study well the history of Iraq before launching a strike on Baghdad," Saleh said.
"Iraq will not capitulate and the Iraqi people are ready to die and sacrifice themselves to defend their nation. "If the United States launches an aggression against Iraq, all Arab peoples will be shaken from the (Atlantic) Ocean to the Gulf," he added. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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