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Saddam still legitimate Iraqi leader: Gaddafi

Kadhafi said that "Saddam Hussein cannot be tried because he is a prisoner of war and under the Geneva Convention should be released at the end of hostilities.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 18:56 IST

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi said on Monday Saddam Hussein should still be considered Iraq's legal president and the current government illegitimate as it was elected under an occupation regime.

In an interview with the Italian Sky TG24 television channel, he slammed the practice of sending in troops to get rid of heads of state, saying that by that theory he could be next.

Gaddafi said that "Saddam Hussein cannot be tried because he is a prisoner of war and under the Geneva Convention should be released at the end of hostilities.

"Saddam is still to be considered the legal president of Iraq because he was not overthrown by the people but by the occupation forces."

"It is dangerous to send troops to eliminate heads of state who are not appreciated, because tomorrow it could be the turn of Castro,Gaddafi or Mugabe, or even China and North Korea," he said, referring to Cuban President Fidel Castro and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

"The invasion of Iraq was not justified because Saddam had already abandoned weapons of mass destruction,"Gaddafi added, referring to the main US pretext for invading Iraq three years ago.

He said that the United States should get out of Iraq in its own interest "because the Iraqis are no longer afraid of the Americans so that the murder of US soldiers has become routine."

Libya and the United States resumed direct diplomatic relations in June 2004 -- after a gap of 24 years which saw US planes bomb Tripoli in 1986 -- following Moammar Gaddafi's announcement of a programme to destroy his weapons of mass destruction.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 18:17 IST