Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Saddam agreed to leave Iraq before the invasion

CNN (CNN.com - UAE official: Hussein was open to exile - Nov 2, 2005) reported:

"Days before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussein agreed in principle to accept an offer of exile from the United Arab Emirates... a UAE government senior official told CNN.

"The reported offer came before an emergency Arab League meeting in Egypt in discussions between UAE officials and a Hussein aide...

"The Hussein aide, Abed Hmoud, is now in jail in Iraq.

"The UAE official's account was repeated by another source who attended the Arab League summit and, separately, by a senior UAE government official...

"News of the reported offer from the UAE emerged... during an interview broadcast by the Arab network Al-Arabiya with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, one of the United Arab Emirates.

"The offer was spearheaded by his father, then-UAE President Sheikh Zayed Ben Sultan Al Nahayan, who died November 3.

'"During those days, the circumstances we worked under needed a very swift decision, an immediate response,' the crown prince said in a documentary broadcast by the network.

'"We had secured the approval of the main players, everyone who was involved, and the man concerned -- Saddam Hussein -- in 24 hours,' he said. 'So we came to the summit to lay down all the facts at the conference table. There would have been results if the issues were brought up but, again, this is all part of the past right now.'

"...CNN reported in March 2003 that an exile plan for Hussein appeared to be gaining support among his Persian Gulf neighbors and that during the Arab League meeting the UAE president had submitted a proposal calling for Hussein to surrender power within 14 days and leave Iraq under the temporary control of the Arab League."

CNN's Caroline Faraj and Brian Todd contributed to this story.

CNN.com - UAE official: Hussein was open to exile - Nov 2, 2005

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