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U.S. says Iraqi diplomat was spy

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 15, 2002

UNITED NATIONS -- The United States charged Friday that an Iraqi diplomat at the United Nations had tried to recruit Americans as spies and ordered him expelled, diplomats said.

An American official said a formal note was delivered to the Iraqi mission accusing the diplomat of "activities incompatible with his diplomatic status" and ordering him to leave by the end of the month. Diplomats identified the Iraqi as Abdul Rahman Saad, who is listed as a first secretary in charge of economic affairs at the Iraqi mission. American officials told the New York Times that he was the chief intelligence officer and that he had tried to recruit American citizens.

Iraq said it regarded "the conduct and activities of Abdul Rahman Saad to be within his official capacity."

The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iraq, but Iraq is allowed to keep a small mission in New York to conduct business at the United Nations.

U.S. STRIKE: U.S. aircraft bombed an Iraqi military facility Friday in the fourth such strike in a month, American defense officials reported.

The strike was in answer to an Iraqi attack the previous day on aircraft patrolling the southern "no-fly" zone U.S. and British coalition forces have been maintaining since just after the 1991 Gulf War.

Also . . .

N. KOREA: U.S. and North Korean officials met Friday in New York to discuss the possibility of resuming long-stalled security talks.

Ambassador Jack Pritchard met with a North Korean U.N. representative. Pritchard will join a delegation of American diplomats for meetings in San Francisco with officials from Japan and South Korea. The two days of meetings open Monday.

The three allies meet periodically to coordinate their respective policies toward North Korea.

CUBA: Millions of Cubans are being asked to publicly affirm Fidel Castro's four-decade-old socialist system as "untouchable" in a government campaign defying calls for democratic reforms.

Over four days beginning Saturday, all Cubans 16 years of age and older will be asked to sign a petition saying they support a constitutional amendment declaring the nation's economic, political and social systems "untouchable" -- meaning they cannot be changed.

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