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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 19:26 GMT 20:26 UK
Iraq urges revenge attacks on Americans
Jordan's King Abdullah (l) greets Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan
The king did not comment on Ramadan's statement
Iraq has called on Arabs to strike back at American lives and property if the US launches a military attack against Baghdad.

Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan - speaking after talks with King Abdullah in the Jordanian capital, Amman - called for Arabs to "confront the material and human interests of the aggressors wherever they are found".

Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan
The vice-president said an attack on Iraq was an attack on all Arabs
He denounced US and British claims that Iraq was building banned weapons of mass destruction as "lies" and said United Nations inspectors would only be allowed back into Iraq as part of a comprehensive UN solution to the current crisis.

Washington's main backer in its Iraq policy, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, warned on Tuesday that "action will follow" if Iraq does not comply with the United Nations.

Speaking to British trade union leaders, Mr Blair said the Iraqi Government was "unrivalled as the world's worst regime" and must be disarmed.

"To allow Saddam to use the weapons he has or get the weapons he wants would be an act of gross irresponsibility and we should not countenance it," he said.

Arab pledge

Mr Ramadan said Baghdad had the right to defend itself, adding that "all Arab citizens, wherever they might be, have the right to fight by all available means".

"This is a legitimate right," he insisted, reminding Iraq's neighbours of the accord reached at an Arab League summit in March that an attack on Iraq would be considered an attack on the region as a whole.

Mr Ramadan delivered a message from President Saddam Hussein to King Abdullah which he said focused on US threats against Iraq.


The West, and Britain and America in particular, are used to lying

Taha Yassin Ramadan
US President George W Bush has said he wants to see the regime of Saddam Hussein toppled, and he has been seeking international support for a US-led military campaign to achieve this.

Mr Ramadan said it was "shameful" that senior US and British officials were using "lies" to build a case against Iraq.

"The West - and Britain and America in particular - are used to lying," he said.

"We don't deny [these reports] or otherwise. We say the truth - that there are no weapons of mass destruction."

Deals wanted

The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Monday that Iraq could build a nuclear bomb soon if it acquired enriched uranium with foreign help.

Mr Ramadan said any country could be said to be capable of building a nuclear weapon with foreign help.

"The same point could be made even of a poor country like Mauritania for example," he said.

The vice-president reiterated that Baghdad wanted a comprehensive deal with the United Nations that would lift crippling 12-year-old sanctions and allow weapons inspectors back for limited work.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kim Ghattas
"This is a statement that is slightly ill-timed"

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10 Sep 02 | Middle East
10 Sep 02 | Politics
10 Sep 02 | Middle East
10 Sep 02 | Business
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