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Saturday, 19 October, 2002, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Abdullah: Iraq war not inevitable
King Abdullah and George Bush
Abdullah said wanted to hold talks with Bush
King Abdullah of Jordan says a US-led war on Iraq is not inevitable - but Jordan is taking steps to protect itself in the event of a conflict.

"It will probably be very close, but peace still has a chance," the monarch said in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel.


If it came to an attack on Iraq, there will probably be a transitional regime led by a strong man with US military backing

King Abdullah of Jordan
The king said Jordan would take precautionary measures by the end of the year to guard against exposure to chemical and biological weapons.

It comes amid speculation that Iraq might fire unconventional weapons over Jordan at Israel if comes under attack.

In 1991, Iraq fired 39 scud missiles - tipped with conventional warheads - at the Jewish state during the Gulf War.

But, the king said, "none of us will avoid trying something to defuse the crisis," adding that he hoped to hold talks with US President George W Bush in the coming weeks.

Regime change

The Bush administration has warned that it will again take military action against Iraq if Iraq fails to fully comply with United Nations weapons inspections.

Scud missile
Jordan might be hit in an Iraqi attack on Israel

The US has accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of developing weapons of mass destruction in breach of United Nations resolutions.

President Bush has called for Saddam Hussein's removal from power and a new regime installed in his place.

King Abdullah told the magazine he would not play any future role in governing Iraq.

"If it came to an attack on Iraq, there will probably be a transitional regime led by a strong man with US military backing," he said.


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29 Jul 02 | Middle East
29 Jul 02 | Middle East
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