Parliament Members Told of Iraqi Foreign Minister Visit
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Iraq’s foreign minister was in Jordan meeting with King Hussein and top Jordanian officials only hours before allies began the ground assault against Iraqi troops, parliament members said Sunday.
The deputies, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were told Tariq Aziz gave details of his talks with Soviet leaders on a proposed peace plan. He also discussed Iraq’s rejection of an ultimatum by President Bush to begin withdrawal from Kuwait, they said.
Aziz, who apparently arrived in Jordan on Saturday from Moscow, later returned to Baghdad. It wasn’t known how he traveled.
Parliament Speaker Abdul Latif Arabiyat on Sunday urged ″all Arab and Muslim nations unite and stand against this armed aggression on Iraq.″
″All believers in Iraq and everywhere will stand united and will challenge the aggression of the allied evil powers aimed at destroying the power of the (Arab) nation and to control it,″ he said.
Aziz’ visit was revealed by Prime Minister Mudar Badran during a closed session of parliament, the deputies said.
In Moscow, Aziz had announced Iraq’s acceptance of a Soviet peace plan for Iraq’s withdrawal from Kuwait in 21 days. The United States said the Soviet plan did not go far enough.
One of the parliamentary deputies said the Aziz visit was interpreted by parliament as part of ″the Jordanian-Iraqi coordination which is so important at this stage.″
″Jordan will later be the most qualified nation to act as a mediator between the West and Iraq, and it is therefore for everyone’s benefit that Jordan maintains its good relations with Iraq,″ said the deputy.
Hussein had tried to mediate a peaceful settlement to the gulf crisis since Iraq’s Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait. In recent weeks, however, he has made statements in support of Saddam Hussein.
Jordan, Iraq’s western neighbor, has many Palestinians who support Saddam and criticize Western intervention in the gulf. Israel borders Jordan to the west.