Saturday, May 14, 2005
One of the untold stories of the Summit of South American-Arab Countries, courtesy of Iraqi newspaper "Alfurat" (12 May) and the translation by the indispensable Hider Ajina:
During a closed session in the Arab-South American conference in Brazilia an argument [erupted] between Chavez (president of Venezuela) and Talabani (president of Iraq) over the Chavezs denunciation of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. This denunciation came after Talabani gave a summary of the situation & conditions in Iraq. President Talabani then replied by saying: The U.S. Military is in Iraq based upon a U.N. resolution and Iraq will do its utmost to regain its sovereignty and freedom. Then President Talabani turned to Chavez and asked him to join him in a cup of coffee to discuss the Iraq situation in an atmosphere of calm and mutual respect.Talabani must treat his attendance at these sorts of summits with some bemusement, knowing full well that if it was up to the assembled Arab and Latin American leaders, Saddam would today continue enjoying his palaces, and Talabani still would be a pashmerga leader holed up under a no-fly-zone instead of being the President of Iraq.