Haider makes another visit to Iraq
Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider, criticized for a recent trip to Baghdad where he expressed Austria's "solidarity" with the Iraqis, made another visit over the weekend, his spokesman said Monday.
Haider spokesman Karlheintz Petritz said the former leader of the far-right Freedom Party returned early Monday and brought with him two Iraqi children who are suffering from cancer. His visit began on Friday, Petritz said.
"It was a private journey" organized by the Iraqi-Austrian Society, Petritz told the Austria Press Agency.
He said the two children were being treated at Vienna's university hospital, and that Haider planned to make more visits in the coming weeks to bring another 15 young cancer patients back to Austria for treatment.
Haider did not meet with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, although he had extensive consultations with Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, Petritz said.
In February, Haider - the governor of the southwest Austrian province of Carinthia - met with Saddam and proclaimed the Austrian people's "solidarity" with Iraq.
That visit was harshly criticized by Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner and other Austrian leaders, who called it out of line and counterproductive. Haider defended his visit at the time, saying it was a private humanitarian mission. (Albawaba.com)
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