Washington, 12 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States is talking with a number of countries concerning the possibility of granting asylum to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Powell told the International Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives today that Washington is examining various aspects of this issue. "We are not only discussing it, we are in touch with a number of countries that have expressed an interest in conveying this message to the Iraqi regime: that time's up. And one way to avoid a lot of suffering is for the regime to step down," Powell said.
Powell said such action would ultimately require some kind of United Nations participation. He said such participation would be preferable to make sure Hussein is enticed into accepting asylum.
The subject of asylum has been advanced by several Arab countries that are trying to avert a U.S. attack against Iraq.