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Plan for Muslim Force Is Detailed

August 02, 2004|From Reuters

JIDDA, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia said Sunday that any Muslim and Arab deployment to Iraq must have Iraqi consensus, operate under a United Nations umbrella and replace U.S.-led coalition forces in the country.

Prince Saud al Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, told reporters that his country's proposal, revealed last week, also stipulates that the U.N. oversee the political process in Iraq, including elections for a new government.

"These won't be fighting or invading troops, but to help serve the Iraqi people so that they return to a normal life," Saud said after talks on the plan with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa.

"This would also require that coalition forces withdraw."

An Islamist militant group has already rejected the idea and threatened to retaliate against contributors. The Saudi proposal, which has received a cool response so far, calls for troops from Pakistan, Malaysia, Algeria, Bangladesh and Morocco to help quell unrest in Iraq.

Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem said his country had no intention of sending troops to Iraq, according to official media reports Sunday.

Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi said the Saudi proposal would be feasible only if coalition forces first withdrew, because if Arab and Muslim troops went now, they could be seen as shoring up U.S.-led troops and therefore part of the occupying force, state media reported Sunday.

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi appealed to Muslim nations last week to join a proposed force of Muslim troops.

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