UNITED NATIONS April 9 —
With the fall of Baghdad, Iraq's U.N. ambassador declared
Wednesday, "the game is over" and became the first Iraqi official to
concede defeat in the U.S.-led war.
Mohammed Al-Douri expressed hope that the Iraqi people will now
be able to live in peace.
"My work now is peace," he told reporters outside his New York
residence. "The game is over, and I hope the peace will prevail. I
hope the Iraqi people will have a happy life."
Al-Douri was asked what he meant when he said "the game is
"The war," he responded.
His comments were the first admission by an Iraqi official that
coalition forces had overwhelmed Iraqi troops after a three-week
In an AP interview Wednesday night, Al-Douri said he will
continue to work at the United Nations and had no intention of
"Defecting from who?" he asked. "I think the government has
already defected. There is no more Iraqi government to be defected
Two weeks ago, during a heated U.N. debate, Al-Douri accused the
United States of "criminal aggression" against Iraq and warned the
U.S.-led coalition was "about to start a real war of extermination
that will kill everything and destroy everything."
He said U.S. and British forces were being "hoodwinked" into
believing "that the Iraqi people would receive them with flowers and
The outburst caused U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte to walk out
of the open Security Council meeting, saying he'd "heard
On Wednesday, when asked about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein,
Al-Douri said he had no "relationship with Saddam."
"I have no communication with Iraq," the ambassador said.
Questioned about Al-Douri's comments, Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld said: "Well, I would say it wasn't a game, first."
Rumsfeld added that there was still lots of "difficult,
dangerous" work ahead in Iraq.
Earlier, Al-Douri told Associated Press Television News: "This is
a war, and there will be a winner and someone who is a loser."
When asked what he thought about scenes broadcast Wednesday from
Baghdad, he said: "Well I don't know really, I watch the television
He said that because of the war he has been unable to contact any
government officials "for a long time."
Al-Douri taught international law at Baghdad University for more
than 30 years before becoming a diplomat in 1999, first at the
United Nations in Geneva and since early 2001 at U.N. headquarters
in New York.
He said he would love to return to teaching but for now plans to
remain at the United Nations. "Things will be crystalized one day,"
"What I worried about is that things are settled in the country
... so in the future the Iraqi people will live in peace without
sanctions, without wars, without suffering. This is my message."
|Iraqi Ambassador to the United
Nations Mohammed Al-Douri gets into his car after leaving his
residence in New York Wednesday, April 9, 2003. U.S. Marines
and Army units swept through Baghdad on Wednesday, as U.S.
commanders said Saddam Hussein's control over the capital was
coming to an end. (AP Photo/Louis
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