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April 9, 2003
 
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(Reuters Photo)
Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Concedes 'Game Is Over'

Reuters


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April 9

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, said on Wednesday "the game is over" and he hoped the Iraqi people soon would be able to live in peace.

Speaking to reporters in front of his residence and then at Iraq's mission to the United Nations, he said: "The work now is peace. We hope that peace will prevail."

"The game is over," Aldouri said in his first admission that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein no longer controls Baghdad. "My hope now is peace, for everybody. I hope that peace will prevail and the Iraqi people at the end of the day will have a peaceful life."

Asked about the whereabouts of Saddam, the ambassador said he had had no communications with Baghdad for some days.

"I have no relationship with Saddam so I can't tell you. I have no communication with Iraq. I am here so I know nothing about what is going on there," Aldouri said.

Rumors swept the United Nations that Aldouri was planning to leave on Wednesday night on a flight to Paris. But by late evening he was seen entering his residence in Manhattan and told reporters, "I'll see you at the U.N. tomorrow."

The ambassador had been a defender of Saddam's government as its chief U.N. representative, taking part in debates and maintaining that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction and strongly opposed the U.S. war efforts.

But he was liked personally among many colleagues.

When told about Aldouri's comments, British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock said, "I pay tribute to him acknowledging it. He is a decent man."

"I hope he finds a decent life, representing a decent government. He must wonder what his situation is now and I sympathize with him," Greenstock said.

Aldouri this week went about his duties at the United Nations, including attending meetings of Arab ambassadors. He did not tell any of his colleagues what his plans were or whether he would stay in New York.

The current Iraqi government holds its U.N. seat until another government hands in its credentials, something not expected to happen for many months. But it is unknown whether the handful of Iraqi diplomats in New York will stay on.

Aldouri took up his post in New York two years ago after serving as Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations' European headquarters in Geneva. He taught international law at Baghdad University for more than 30 years before joining the Foreign Ministry in 1999 and is known for his fluency in French.


photo credit and caption:
Iraqi soldiers are rounded up, stripped and interrogated by the U.S. Marine Scouts of the Second Tank Battalion after a short fire fight northeast of Baghdad, April 9, 2003. Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohammed Aldouri, said on Wednesday "the game is over" and he hoped the Iraqi people soon would be able to live in peace. Speaking to reporters in front of his residence and then at Iraq's mission to the United Nations, he said: "The work now is peace. We hope that peace will prevail." Photo by Reuters (Handout)

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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