JEDDAH, 30 December 2003 — Deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has started talking, confessing to depositing billions of dollars abroad and giving interrogators the names of people who know where the money is, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council said in remarks published yesterday.
The US-appointed council is looking for $40 billion it estimates the Iraqi dictator appropriated while in power and deposited abroad, Iyad Allawi told Asharq Al-Awsat, a sister publication of Arab News.
"Saddam has started to give information on money that has been looted from Iraq and deposited abroad," he said. "Investigation is now concentrated on his relationship with terrorist organizations and on the money paid to elements outside Iraq," he added.
Allawi said Saddam, who has been questioned by American interrogators since his capture earlier this month, gave the names of people who know where the money is deposited and also know the location of arms and ammunition depots used by insurgents in attacks against the coalition forces and the Governing Council.
"We have asked international law firms and investigators to track the money he (Saddam) has deposited in Switzerland, Germany, Japan and other countries... in the name of various fictitious companies," Allawi said.
In Baghdad, Ahmed Al-Bayak, another member of the IGC, said he was told by council members that Saddam had started providing names of people in Iraq who carry out attacks against US forces.
Allawi put the number of "terrorists from abroad who are carrying out attacks in Iraq" at more than 5,000.
He also called for "normalization of relations between the Governing Council and Arab countries."
Iraq's interim foreign minister was quoted yesterday as saying Iraq was ready to guarantee the sovereignty of Kuwait and respect its borders in a comprehensive treaty.
"We have offered a treaty of guarantees for the future that will declare respect for Kuwait's sovereignty and international borders," Hoshyar Zebari told Al-Rai Al-Aam daily. The treaty will also include a commitment to search for "the POWs, accept the principle of reparations and commitment to all international conventions and treaties, in addition to respecting international law," he said.
The treaty will be signed by the independent Iraqi government when power is transferred from the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority currently governing the war-torn country to the Iraqi people next summer, the minister added.
"We (the Governing Council) support this treaty in order to... restore Iraqi-Arab relations, starting with Kuwait," Zebari said.
Under Saddam's regime, Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait in August 1990. They were evicted seven months later by a US-led multinational coalition.