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[casi] INC visits Washington

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5. - AP - "Iraq Rebels, U.S. to Discuss Saddam":

LONDON / 27 July 2002

The United States has invited six Iraqi opposition groups to Washington next
month for talks on removing Saddam Hussein, spokesmen for three of the
factions said Saturday.

The State Department confirmed a meeting was planned either Aug. 9 or Aug.
16 to coordinate ``our work with the Iraqi opposition.''

A spokesman for the Iraqi National Congress, Nabil Mousawi, said in London
that the congress, an umbrella group of dissident parties, would accept the

``It is the first time that the U.S. administration has issued a joint
letter from the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies,'' Mousawi
said. ``Finally we have one intended policy from all sections of the

He said the opposition groups wanted to hear confirmation that the Bush
administration is committed to overthrowing Saddam.

``We will hear from them how this is going to be coordinated between the
Iraqi opposition and the U.S. government,'' Mousawi said.

President Bush has described Saddam as a menace and said he wants him
removed, but Iraqi dissidents want to know how far the United States is
prepared to go to accomplish that.

State Department spokesman Frederick Jones said the meeting would be hosted
by Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman and Undersecretary of Defense
Douglas J. Feith.

The leader of the small Constitutional Monarchy Movement, Sharif Ali Bin
Al-Hussein, said in London that his party had accepted the invitation.

In Damascus, the Syrian representative of the Supreme Council for Islamic
Revolution in Iraq, Bayan Jabber, said his group was invited, but had not
yet decided whether it would attend. The council draws its support from
Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority.

Jones said the other parties invited are the Iraqi National Accord, another
umbrella group, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan.

The Kurd groups are the two main powers in the Kurdish zone of northern
Iraq, which is beyond the control of the Baghdad government. Spokesmen for
the groups in London and Ankara, Turkey, said they heard of the meeting, but
could not confirm their leaderships had been invited.

Representatives of the Iraqi National Accord could not be reached Saturday.

The Iraqi National Congress, which is based in London, took part in a
meeting of former Iraqi military officers and opposition groups in the
British capital earlier this month.

Representatives of the State Department and Pentagon attended the meeting.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said afterward that it was ``a
useful tool.''

In June, Bush administration officials discussed preparations for a
post-Saddam Iraq with representatives of the two Kurdish groups, the supreme
council, the national accord and other groups.


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