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[casi] Meeting between US and Iraq reps in Greece?

Sunday February 23, 4:24 AM
Greece reported setting up U.S.-Iraq meeting

ATHENS (Reuters) - Retired U.S. general Anthony Zinni will meet two Iraqi
generals in Athens next Wednesday as part of EU efforts to head off a war
with Iraq, according to a Greek Sunday newspaper.
To Vima, one of Greece's most authoritative newspapers, said in an early
copy obtained by Reuters on Saturday that military officials from other
Middle Eastern countries, including Libya, would attend the meeting
organised by Greek authorities.
"Next Wednesday in Athens Anthony Zinni, President George Bush's personal
representative, will meet two Iraqi army generals from Baghdad in a rare
meeting between the two countries," the newspaper said in its front-page
To Vima said the two Iraqi generals were close confidantes of President
Saddam Hussein and were making the trip with his blessing. The report did
not name them.
Zinni, a retired Marine Corps general and former commander of U.S. forces in
the Gulf, is familiar with Middle Eastern leaders and has been a mediator
between Israelis and Palestinians.
"The critical meeting was organised in high secrecy by Greek Defence
Minister Yannos Papandoniou in his role as the present head of EU defence
and security matters," the newspaper said.
"Iraq immediately accepted the meeting when Papandoniou sent out the
invitation," it said.
Greece is current president of the European Union under the 15-nation bloc's
six-month rotation deal.
A spokesman for Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis declined to confirm or
deny the report. "If there is comment on this it will be made tomorrow
(Sunday)," the spokesman said.
As EU president, Greece has been in the forefront of efforts to find a
peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis.
Greece has diplomatic relations with Baghdad and an Iraqi ambassador is
stationed in Athens.
The United States and Britain say they have intelligence that Iraq has
weapons of mass destruction and have threatened war unless Baghdad complies
with U.N. demands to come clean. Baghdad says it does not possess such arms.

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