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Iraqis Start Area Tour

August 18, 2003|From Associated Press

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — A delegation of the Iraqi Governing Council arrived here Sunday on the first stop of a regional tour seeking to drum up political cooperation and possible economic aid from fellow Arab countries.

"We are on a mission to introduce ourselves and get to know others," said Ibrahim Jaffari, who holds the rotating presidency of the Governing Council and leads the six-member delegation.

Shortly before the Iraq war, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al Nuhayyan, Emirates president and ruler of Abu Dhabi, proposed that Arab states should ask Saddam Hussein to resign as Iraqi president to avoid the conflict.

The Arab League said early this month it would not recognize the U.S.-appointed council as an interim government, saying Iraqis should elect their own leaders. However, major Arab nations such as Egypt and Jordan subsequently have said they would work with the council.

The delegation is scheduled to leave for Bahrain today and visit Kuwait on Wednesday.

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