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Jordan's King Would Consider Iraqi Troop Request

No Arab state has troops in Iraq (file photo) 2 July 2004 -- Jordan's King Abdullah has said that Jordan is willing to send troops to Iraq if they are requested by the new Iraqi interim government.

In the past, Abdullah had refused to send troops. No Arab state has troops in Iraq.

Abdullah was speaking to the BBC yesterday after former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and 11 former high-ranking officials appeared in a court in Baghdad to be formally indicted.

Hussein called the proceedings "theater" and defended the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The former dictator heard seven charges, including genocide and crimes against humanity. The charges relate to massacres of Kurds and Shi'a in Iraq and aggression toward Kuwait and Iran.

In Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the trial was an important step for the Iraqis.

"Saddam Hussein's regime was responsible for grave atrocities against the Iraqi people, and this step today begins a process by which the Iraqi people can help bring closure to the dark chapter of their history," McClellan said.

A State Department spokesman said the United States is providing $75 million to help fund the investigation and trial of Hussein and his senior aides.

(compiled from news agency reports)