Ousted Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein has reportedly been in secret contacts with American occupation authorities for the past nine days.
According to the British Sunday Mirror report, Saddam was demanding safe passage to Belarus in exchange for information on weapons of mass destruction and his bank accounts.
US President George W. Bush was being updated about the negotiations by his national security adviser Condoleeza Rice who was coordinating talks headed by US general Ricardo Sanchez, the top commander of US occupation forces in Iraq, the Sunday Mirror added.
"A representative of Saddam in Western-style civilian clothes came to coalition people at Tikrit at sunset on September 12. He led them to a house where the security official was waiting," the Sunday Mirror quoted a senior Iraqi as saying.
"The discussions are now going on under the direct authority of General Sanchez," the source added, according to the British newspaper.
The source argued that the toppled Iraqi leader had decided to seek a deal "because he is desperate, trapped and finding fewer and fewer people willing to give him shelter," the tabloid said.
During the weekend, Lebanon's Al Hayat-LBC TV reported that Saddam has made a public appearance just north of Baghdad. The report quoted witnesses as saying Saddam was bearded and in a flowing Arab robe when he appeared inspecting the Baath Bridge on Al Taji highway north of the capital at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
The witnesses were quoted as saying Saddam arrived at the scene in a dark blue armor-plated Mercedes-Benz with another white Mercedes carrying several bodyguards driving behind him.
The bodyguards wore bulgy explosives around their waists. They included Maj. Khalil Ibrahim Al Omar, Al Hayat-LBC reported. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )