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US ambassador walks out of UN Iraq debate

US ambassador John Negroponte has walked out of a UN Security Council debate after his Iraqi counterpart accused Washington of trying to exterminate the Iraqi people.

"I did sit through quite a long part of what he had to say but I'd heard enough," Negroponte said.

Iraq's envoy Mohammed Al-Douri claimed that the United States had arranged for contracts to rebuild Iraq in 1997, six years before the war began last week.

Negroponte got up and walked out as Al-Douri continued to speak, accusing the United States of a military campaign to wipe out the Iraqi people.

Al-Douri said the United States had even planned the carving up of Iraq before Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Almost spluttering, he said that the United States was now using the humanitarian issue to hide its "criminal aggression."

The Iraqi envoy urged the Security Council to halt the war in Iraq, saying ending the conflict was even more important than getting humanitarian assistance into the region.

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