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Iraqi, French Officials Go to Iran for Talks

From Associated Press

A senior aide to Saddam Hussein and a French Foreign Ministry official arrived in Iran today for talks on the Persian Gulf War, Iran’s official media reported.

Tehran radio identified the Iraqi official as the deputy prime minister, Saddoun Hamadi. It did not say whether he would meet the French official.

In an arrival statement, Hamadi said that regardless of the casualties Iraq might incur, “we would never bow to colonial domination.”

“Important developments have occurred in the region over the past two weeks, since the U.S. imposed a war on Iraq, so the Iraqi leadership deemed it necessary to brief the Iranian leadership on these developments,” Hamadi said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. The agency said Hamadi was carrying a message from Hussein to Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani.

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The broadcast noted Hamadi’s visit followed Iran’s declaration that it would not send back Iraqi aircraft that have landed in Iran. Tehran says 16 Iraqi warplanes have flown to Iran and 11 landed safely. The allies say 89 Iraqi planes have flown to Iran.

Iran has said it will remain neutral in the conflict between the U.S.-led allies and its former war foe, Iraq. Iran has said it would impound any aircraft from either side that lands in its territory until the war ends.

Iran, which fought Iraq from 1980 to ’88, has deplored both the invasion of Kuwait and the foreign military intervention in the region.

Also arriving in Iran today was Francois Scheer, secretary general of the French Foreign Ministry.

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