Deputy FM: Iraq not to have diplomatic relations with Israel
Hamid Al Bayati, Iraq’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, asserted that his country refuses to have any diplomatic relations with Israel. He also stated that the new Iraqi government will not interfere in any way in the trial of the toppled Iraqi president – Saddam Hussein.
Speaking to Al Bawaba, Bayati emphasized that Iraq will always be with Arab consensus. "Arab consensus is currently against having any diplomatic relations with Israel so we will be in support of this stance,” Bayati noted.
Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Sylvan Shalom, had previously remarked to the media that it should be up to the Iraqi people to decide whether Iraq should have diplomatic relations with Israel or not. Also, a spokeswoman at the Israeli foreign ministry had once quoted Shalom as saying that there are already Israeli businessmen working in northern Iraq.
"Kurds in northern Iraq have denied any Israeli entry into Kurdistan…and I can assure you that we do not have any individual or corporate Israeli activity in other parts of Iraq," Bayati added.
On the issue of Saddam Hussein’s trial, Bayati confirmed that his will be a very public affair. The former Iraqi leader and 11 of his top officials were handed Wednesday to the Iraqi government for their much anticipated trial.
"I don’t know if the first session of the trial will be aired on TV…but I assure you that many of the sessions will be aired for the public to see,” added Bayati.
"Saddam Hussein has the right to defend himself in any way he finds appropriate, and the court issue its verdict according to the law. The Iraqi government will not interfere in the trial," stressed Bayati.
Ziad Khasawneh, the Jordanian lawyer that is in charge of Saddam’s defense team, had accused the Iraqi government of not offering the needed protection for him and his team of lawyers when defending the former Iraqi president.
"The Iraqi people are not capable of protecting themselves, how can they protect Mr. Khasawneh and his team? Besides, according to Iraqi law, Saddam's lawyer should be an Iraqi however he may seek help form Arab or foreign lawyers if he wishes," Bayati concluded.
Another Jordanian lawyer has recently accused the Iraqi minister of justice of issuing death threats against him. Jordanian lawyer Issam Ghazawi told AFP that the Iraqi minister of justice had told him over the phone that if they [the Jordanian lawyers] ever thought of coming to Iraq to defend the former president, the Iraqis will “shred them to pieces.”
On his part, the Iraqi minister of justice, Malik Dohan Al-Hassan, denied the accusations calling Ghazawi a "liar." (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)