Austria's Haider offers Iraqi minister asylum

  • Reuters, PTI, Vienna
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 03, 2003 18:59 IST

Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider, a vocal backer of Iraq against the United States, offered asylum in his Alpine province to Iraq's foreign minister in an interview published on Thursday.
Haider, a long-time friend of Foreign Minister Naji Sabri and a harsh critic of US policy in the Middle East, was asked if Sabri could count on refuge in Carinthia, where Haider is governor, if the Iraqi leadership is forced to flee.

"There is always room in my home for a friend," Haider told the Austrian magazine News. The two have been friends since Sabri was ambassador in Vienna in the 1990s.

Haider last month praised Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as an Arab visionary. He was forced to quit national politics last year amid uproar after he met Saddam in Baghdad and expressed support for the Iraqi leader.

Haider accused the United States of going to war for Iraq's oil. "I personally would be delighted if the Iraqis succeed in defending themselves from this aggression," Haider told News.


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