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U.S. Diplomat Retracts Iraq Comments

(RFE/RL) October 23, 2006 -- A senior U.S. diplomat has retracted comments he made to the Al-Jazeera television channel, in which he said the United States had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq.

Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, said in a written statement that he "seriously misspoke" during his interview with the broadcaster.

"We tried to do our best, but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," Fernandez said during the October 22 interview, speaking in Arabic.

Fernandez said his comments represented neither his views nor the views of the State Department and that he apologizes.

(Reuters, AFP)

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