Tariq Aziz, Iraqi foreign minister under Saddam, dead

By REUTERS
June 5, 2015 18:15

 
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Tariq Aziz, who was foreign minister of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, has died in prison, Iraqi officials said on Friday. He was 79.

Aziz surrendered in April 2003 to a US invasion force which overthrew Saddam. He was sentenced to death seven years later over the persecution of Islamic parties under the former Iraqi leader.

He had long complained of ill-health during his detention.

A fluent English speaker, Aziz played a prominent diplomatic role in the run-up to the 1991 Gulf War to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, as well as in the long-running disputes over United Nations weapons inspections in subsequent years.

A Chaldean Christian, he was born in the village of Tal Keif, near Mosul in northern Iraq. His association with Saddam dated back to the 1950s, when the two men were involved in the then-outlawed Baath party, which sought to oust the British-backed monarchy.

Aziz was number 43 on the US most-wanted list of Iraqi officials when he gave himself up just two weeks after Saddam was toppled.

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