Baker scheduled to meet Iraqi foes of Hussein in D.C.

July 26, 1992|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration has agreed for the first time to meet with a high-level delegation of Iraqi opposition figures, who are on a mission to Washington to discuss the idea that the United States and its allies should back an opposition government against President Saddam Hussein and arm it for civil war.

The administration has strongly opposed supporting such an external challenge to President Hussein and in the past has refused to meet with opposition leaders in a highly visible way.

But Secretary of State James A. Baker III will meet at the State Department Wednesday with six Iraqis, including the Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani, administration officials and a representative of the opposition leaders said.

The scheduled meeting is not directly related to the Bush administration's current confrontation with President Hussein, but it may represent an important shift in how the administration views the opposition in Iraq.

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