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Thursday, 3 October, 2002, 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK
Bush challenged to 'duel' with Saddam
Taha Yassin Ramadan
Ramadan - a hidden capacity for dark humour?
An Iraqi vice-president has proposed that Saddam Hussein and George W Bush should fight a duel to settle their differences.

Taha Yassin Ramadan suggested that United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan should referee the duel on neutral territory.


In the past when Iraq had disputes, there were no duels; there were invasions

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer
Mr Ramadan, who is not noted for a sense of humour but occasionally resorts to sarcasm, made the proposal in an interview with the Associated Press.

Mr Bush's spokesman Ari Fleischer rejected the idea saying, "there can be no serious response to an irresponsible statement like that".

His remarks came as the UN Security Council discussed the Iraqi offer for arms inspectors to return to Baghdad - the more straightforward route to avert war.

Leader versus leader

"Bush wants to attack the whole [of] Iraq, the army and the infrastructure," the Iraqi vice-president said.

"The American president should specify a group, and we will specify a group and choose neutral ground with Kofi Annan as referee and use one weapon with a president against a president, a vice-president against a vice-president, and a minister against a minister in a duel."

Mr Fleischer poured scorn on the proposal saying:

"In the past when Iraq had disputes, it invaded its neighbours. There were no duels; there were invasions. There was use of weapons of mass destruction and military. That's how Iraq settles its disputes."


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03 Oct 02 | Middle East
10 Sep 02 | Middle East
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