Saddam chairs military meeting

March 23, 2003 at 7:44 PM
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BAGHDAD, March 23 (UPI) -- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein chaired an emergency meeting with senior military officers and government officials, Sunday.

State-run Iraq Television said the meeting was attended by the Minister of Military Industry Abdul Tawab Mula Hwaish, Deputy Foreign Minister Humam Abdul Khaleq, and the commanders of air defense and aviation, in addition to Iraq's director of Iraq's Atomic Energy Organization.

The television did not say what was discussed during the meeting, in which Saddam Hussein was wearing his military-styled uniform.

Meanwhile, Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan sharply criticized Arab governments for their silence, cooperation or participation in the U.S. military campaign facing his country for a fourth day.

He also blasted U.N Secretary General Kofi Annan, accusing him of becoming "a high commissioner conspiring with the U.S. Administration."

Ramadan said in a news conference in Baghdad, that the "official Arab position is divided into three: Direct conspirators and participants on the aggression, such as the Kuwaiti regime, leaders who dwell in secrecy and participate directly but secretly, and leaders who are afraid and restricting their people from expressing their feelings against the aggression."

He accused the third kind of Arab rulers of refusing to allow their populations to express their sentiments except with permission from the interior ministries of their countries.

The official said that if the masses "headed to the embassies of the aggressors, they are faced with bullets by the security forces."

Washing his hands of the Arab regimes, Ramadan added he did not have "hope they would have a position. My hope and trust is in the Arab people and masses.

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