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U.N. Envoy Expected to See Iraqi Defectors

August 16, 1995| From Reuters

UNITED NATIONS — U.N. arms control envoy Rolf Ekeus left for Bahrain on Tuesday en route to Baghdad and then to Jordan, where he probably will meet with high-level Iraqi defectors in hopes of obtaining information about Iraq's clandestine weapons programs, officials said Tuesday.

U.N. spokesman Joe Sills told reporters, "I presume he is going to Amman to meet with certain people . . . rather than for a holiday."

Among those he is likely to see is Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel Majid, the architect of Iraq's war machine and a son-in-law of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Majid defected to Jordan last week together with other senior Iraqi officials and their families.

U.N. diplomats said any new information obtained by Ekeus would require extensive cross-checking and would delay any U.N. Security Council discussion about easing sanctions imposed on Iraq shortly after its August, 1990, invasion of Kuwait.

Key conditions for easing the sanctions are that Iraq scrap its weapons of mass destruction and allow ongoing monitoring to ensure it does not again acquire banned weapons.

Meanwhile, Iraqi opposition groups said Tuesday that Saddam Hussein's eldest son, Uday, had killed at least one of the president's relatives in a feud last week, but they gave conflicting details of the alleged incident.

The Supreme Council for Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a Shiite group, said Uday shot and killed his cousin Ahmed, the son of Saddam's half-brother, Watban Ibrahim Hassan, in a dispute in Baghdad.

The group said two of Watban's guards were killed in the incident and also a guard for the president.

But a rebel Kurdish group, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), reported that Watban was shot as well and died of his wounds Sunday. The PUK said Uday also killed Thurayya, Watban's wife.

Both groups said the dispute happened Aug. 8, hours after Majid left Baghdad to defect to Jordan.

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