'US officials contacted Baath members to convince them to join politics'

September 6, 2007 22:56

US representatives recently met in Iraq and other Arab state with officials from Saddam Hussein's Baath party with the aim of bringing them to the political process, former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said in remarks aired Thursday. Allawi told Al-Arabiya television that the Baathists who attended the talks were loyal to Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam's deputy and the top official from the former regime who is still at large. "The dialogue was requested by the United States of America and it took place in an Arab state as well as Iraq and I was present," said Allawi, the first Iraqi prime minister after the 2003 US invasion. "The aim of these talks was to find common understanding between those Baathists and the American government that was represented at a high level." Allawi, a former Baathist and later an opposition leader during Saddam's rule, said other Western and Arab governments were present at the meetings. But he did not say how the Baathists responded.

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