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Archive for Sunday, April 13, 2003

Syrian says U.S. wants to ruin Iraq

April 13, 2003

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— Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa on Saturday accused the United States of waging war to destroy Iraq -- not oust President Saddam Hussein.

"Had the aim of the war been changing the regime in Iraq, we wouldn't have been seeing the suffering we are witnessing now of looting and theft in Iraqi cities," al-Sharaa told reporters during a news conference with French counterpart Dominique de Villepin.

America's "aim is to destroy Iraq's institutions, ministries and infrastructure that exist in all countries over the world and have nothing to do with the regime," al-Sharaa said referring to looting and chaos since Baghdad and other Iraqi cities fell to U.S.-British forces this week.

Al-Sharaa said Syria, the only Arab member of the U.N. Security Council and a staunch war opponent, was worried about "Iraq's dismantling at the hands of those who came to free it," and that U.S.-led forces would occupy Iraq indefinitely.

De Villepin also met with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss the Iraq war and Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria's official news agency reported.

Assad said Syria would "work to restore the United Nations' role in Iraq" and ensure Iraqis get the chance to shape their future. Syria would also work closely with the European Union "to restore security and stability to Iraq."

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