BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan offered a "dialogue" with the United States, saying in an interview broadcast Friday that his country was ready to talk if Washington abandons "aggression" and ceases "interference in internal affairs."
The offer is unlikely to be accepted by the United States, which insists that Iraq first give up its alleged weapons of mass destruction. The proposal appeared aimed at presenting Iraq as a country interested in improving relations with a government bent on its destruction.
"We are ready for a dialogue with the American administration and ready to build economic relations," he said. "We are for a dialogue and normal relations with all the countries of the world, except for Israel."
"If they abandon aggression, and there is a dialogue that leads to normal relations, achieves mutual interests far away from interference in internal affairs, then we have no objection," he said.
In the interview with Al-Shabab Television -- owned by Saddam Hussein's son Odai -- Ramadan also accused the United States of trying to dominate the world, saying Iraq can't accept that.
He appealed to Arab countries to come to Iraq's defense, saying they were Washington's next targets.
And in a nod to countries opposing U.S. threats of war, he said Iraq would help them argue their anti-war case by cooperating with U.N. weapons inspectors.
"We will do our best to solidify the position of the fair countries and to enhance their position in defending Iraq's rights," he said. "We have agreed to intensify our efforts to solve those remaining problems (with the inspectors), and in coming days we will achieve more progress."
The offer comes as the United States and Britain plan to present a new resolution to the Security Council on Monday in a bid to gain support for using force to disarm Iraq. Baghdad hopes to discourage council members from supporting the resolution, which needs nine votes to pass.