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Iraqi Rebels Audited by U.S.

June 11, 2001

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department’s inspector general is auditing an Iraqi rebel coalition that has received about $8 million as part of a U.S. strategy to destabilize President Saddam Hussein.

Spokesman Richard Boucher said Monday cooperation with the Iraqi National Congress would continue. The group is due to get some $22 million promised by the Clinton administration and the U.S. Congress.

While saying he could provide no details of the probe, Boucher said the department auditors will ``come up with recommendations to improve the management of programs in accounts by the Iraqi National Congress.″

Many of the leaders of the opposition group are emigres, some of whom live in London.

``We would anticipate that the audits would enhance the Iraqi National Congress’ ability to receive greater levels of U.S. funding in order to carry out programs within the parameters of U.S. government rules designed to ensure proper use of the money,″ Boucher said.

In the meantime, the department spokesman said, ``we continue to work with, we continue to cooperate closely with the Iraqi National Congress and other elements of the Iraqi opposition to strengthen their efforts to represent the true voice of the Iraqi people.″

Some audits are done periodically, some ``in relation to particular events or standards,″ Boucher said, declining to say which category the audit of the anti-Saddam group is in.

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