Saudi Minister Hints Saddam Should Leave

AP Wire Service

NEW YORK – Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister strongly suggested in an interview broadcast Monday that Saddam Hussein should step down from power for the sake of the Iraqi people.


“If his staying in power (is) the only thing that brings problems to his country, we expect he would respond to a sacrifice for his country, as he requires any citizen there to … sacrifice for his country,” Prince Saud al Faisal said in the interview broadcast on ABC-TV.

Last month, Arab leaders declined to endorse a proposal from the United Arab Emirates for Saddam to step down and leave the country to avoid a U.S.-led invasion.

The Iraqis later refused to accept an Arab League delegation after reports circulated that the members would raise the possibility of Saddam going into exile to avoid war.

The prince also said he thinks there should be “a cease fire that allows for diplomacy to work” and that he feels “frustration” with what he described as advisers to President Bush who have pushed for the war with Iraq.

“The president has shown that he was always, always patient,” Saud said. “But …. these prognosticators, when the United States needs friends everywhere, have gone so far as to try to convince the American public that their friends are enemies.This is a time for reckoning. This is a time to show who the real friend and who the real enemy is.”

He declined to identify whom he was talking about.