Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Saddam's Son: Accept U.N. Resolution

Saddam Hussein's son recommended Tuesday that Iraq accept a U.N. resolution on arms inspectors but the teams should have Arab members as the Iraqi parliament reconvened to consider the demands.

Saddam's son also said Iraqis should be prepared for war nonetheless.

Odai Saddam Hussein made the recommendation in a letter distributed to parliament as it reconvened Tuesday to debate the issue before advising whether Saddam should accept the Security Council resolution. The letter was also distributed to reporters in Baghdad by the Information Ministry.

"We have to agree to the U.N. Security Council resolution with limits on certain points, but not, we say, conditions," the president's son said.

"There should be Arab experts or technicians and monitors [on the inspection teams] who are familiar with the nuclear, chemical and biological side," he said.

Iraq has until Friday to accept or reject the resolution, which threatens "serious consequences" if it does not comply with the provisions to disarm. The United States and Britain have made clear they will attack if Iraq balks.

On Monday, Iraqi lawmakers strongly condemned the U.N. resolution but said they would leave the decision how to respond to Saddam.

Odai Saddam Hussein said acceptance would not necessarily ward off war, and spoke of a call to have Arab countries cut oil supplies to countries who attack Iraq.

"We have to know our enemy and that the U.N. resolution does not mean stopping him from committing military action," he said.

"We also have to take precautions and measures and here we have to ask the Arab countries to immediately cut oil supplies to those countries that launch a military strike or aggression on Iraq and to any country that allows foreign war planes to use their airports or offer logistic support for them for refueling," his letter said.

Arab oil producers have ignored similar calls from Iraq in the past, saying stopping sales was not in their interest.

Lawmakers were expected to vote late Tuesday on how to advise the ruling Revolutionary Command Council, headed by Saddam, which will decide how Iraq responds to the U.N. Security Council resolution.

Lawmakers on Monday denounced the resolution, the latest in a long effort to ensure Iraq scraps its weapons of mass destruction, despite the risk of war if Iraq rejects it.

The first legislator to speak Tuesday renewed the condemnation, calling the resolution "a roadmap for invading Iraq."

"Why do we discuss it when it is trap to create a pretext to attack Iraq," lawmaker Adnan Rashid asked.

The parliament's foreign relations committee has already recommended that Iraq reject the resolution. However, lawmakers have said they would ultimately trust any decision Saddam makes.

The Iraqi president has used parliament's action as cover for difficult decisions in the past, and the harsh rhetoric did not necessarily mean parliament would reject the proposal.

In Washington, President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, rejected the legitimacy of parliament's debate on the resolution.

"One has to be a bit skeptical of the independence of the Iraqi parliament from Saddam Hussein," she said Monday. "I don't think anyone believes this is anything but an absolute dictatorship and this decision is up to Saddam Hussein."

She also said Iraq has no right to accept or reject the resolution. "They are obligated to accept, but the U.N. thought it best to ask for return-receipt requested," Rice said.

Parliament is stacked with Saddam's allies, and Monday night's speeches were aired live on Iraqi television. Lawmakers applauded every mention of Saddam's name in speeches, praising "His Excellency Mr. President, the holy warrior leader Saddam Hussein."

On convening Tuesday's session, Parliament speaker Saadoun Hammadi told lawmakers the resolution "does not have the minimum of fairness, objectivity and balance."

"This resolution includes many impossible demands that can't be executed," Hammadi said.

Iraq maintains it no longer has any weapons of mass destruction, and lawmaker Ismail Nasif Jassim called the 30-day period for Iraq to provide documents on its weapons programs "illogical and a way to provoke Iraq."

The U.N. resolution gives inspectors unrestricted access to any suspected weapons site and the right to interview Iraqi scientists outside the country and without Iraqi officials present.

Jassim described the provision for interviewing scientists outside Iraq as "a violation of human rights because it demands of any Iraqi they want to interview to travel abroad with their family."

Iraq has insisted on respect for its sovereignty, an argument it has used in the past to restrict access to Saddam's palaces.

"Whoever formulated the text of that resolution deliberately chose [points] that contradict Iraq's sovereignty and conflict with the dignity of the people," Hammadi said.

State-controlled newspapers castigated the resolution Tuesday, but their editorials did not say the government should reject it. One paper, Al-Iraq, said the resolution demanded "quiet wisdom."

Tuesday's session of parliament was not broadcast live on Iraqi television, leaving Iraqis unaware of how the parliament was likely to vote. It was carried live by Al-Jazeera, the Qatari-based Arabic satellite channel. Iraqis cannot receive Al-Jazeera as the government bans satellite dishes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.