Calls for a US-Iraqi Dialogue

The United Nations did a wonderful job in averting the last crisis, but unless there is a vision of some light at the end of the tunnel—which now begins to look dimmer—and unless there is some direct contact, in the sense of explaining directly what is required regarding the weapons of mass destruction or any other subject, I am afraid we might end up with another crisis. If there is dialogue and it does lead to full compliance with all terms and agreements, then the sanctions should be lifted because the Iraqi people are being strangled literally, from all directions, within and without.

Interview with Middle East Insight magazine
May-June, 1998


Regarding our ties with Iraq, I have tried and am still trying and determined, in all the contacts I have held—whether with the United States' leaders, Great Britain, Europe—to stress that there is one unchangeable fact in the Iraqi stand and policy; namely, Iraq's desire to hold direct contacts with the United States. This has been true since 1990.

Kofi Annan exerted a great effort and saved the situation, but Iraq, as a people, is suffering. An end must be found to such suffering. If the two sides talked in Geneva right before the battle, why can they not talk now? They can put down all the limitations and conditions they want and discuss everything they are afraid of or have doubts about regarding weapons of mass destruction, which, incidentally, frighten us all.

Address to Members of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches
May 20, 1998


My starting point is that both parties met each other face to face in Geneva a short while before the war broke out in 1991, that is, when former Secretary of State James Baker was conducting negotiations with Tariq Aziz. Nothing came out of the negotiations, but it was a meeting recognized by all parties as a possible instrument.

That meeting took place. So why is it impossible to meet now? To engage in direct communication? Also, in order to give the Americans a possibility to once again emphasize to the Iraqis what has to be done to set the Iraqi population on its feet again. I believe, with all due respect, that negotiations and contacts between Iraq and other parties will not reach the results which are absolutely necessary at the present stage. Also because since 1990 the Iraqi leadership has had a constant and often repeated wish to negotiate directly with the US. And what does the US have to lose? If direct negotiations on the disarmament of Iraq end positively, it will be good. If they end negatively, the whole world will understand why the US is losing its patience. So I hope that it will be possible some day.

Interview with Morgenavisen Jyllandsposten newspaper
April 26, 1998


I believe that there must always be a dialogue between all. At the same time, I refuse the idea that any party shall decide on who carries responsibility in a certain country. People are the only ones who decide the change, therefore dialogue is needed.

Interview with Radio Monte Carlo


We hope to succeed in persuading the two parties concerned to undertake this dialogue as soon as possible, because it is the only way to avert any further shocks to which we may be subjected in the future. Dialogue is the only way to develop a clear vision of future prospects regarding the basic demands, that will be just when Iraq has fulfilled its agreement with the Security Council. Concurrently, work must start to eliminate the suffering of the Iraqi people from the siege that is imposed on Iraq at present.

Interview with Orbit Television
February 25, 1998
March 2, 1998


This initiative conforms to the rules of resolving international disputes, and to what Iraq, a principle party to the conflict, has called for. It also opens the door for direct dialogue between Iraq and the United States. I emphasize here a dialogue between the two parties, in all that the word implies, in all the languages spoken on the face of the earth. This is what we called for and expected from the beginning of the crisis since the United States became a party to the dispute, by virtue of its prominent role in the adoption of Security Council resolutions on the Gulf crisis, its participation with the biggest proportion of the allied forces that were deployed in the region, and its command of these forces.

Address to the Military Staff College Graduation
December 9, 1990