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Iraqi envoy to Vietnam remains defiant

Iraqi envoy Salah Elmukhtar said 'fighting is still going on in Baghdad, the battle of the capital has not ended yet'.

world Updated: Apr 10, 2003 14:55 IST

Iraq's ambassador to Vietnam spat defiance on Thursday but cracks emerged in other Iraqi missions in Asia following the stunning collapse of Saddam Hussein's hold on Baghdad.

In Hanoi, Iraqi envoy Salah Elmukhtar rejected claims that the Saddam era had ended and pledged that the war against US and British forces would go on for "one month, one year, 10 years".

"Fighting is still going on in Baghdad," Elmukhtar said. "The battle of the capital has not ended yet.

"Iraqi people are all against the foreign invasion" he said, insisting that scenes of jubilation at Saddam's fall among the Iraqi population were organised by "Iraqi mercenaries trained outside of Iraq by US forces."

"If we lose Baghdad, we will keep fighting in other cities," the Iraqi ambassador said. "It could last one month, one year, 10 years."

Iraqi diplomats contacted by AFP at other Iraqi missions in Asia insisted it was business as usual, but others seemed to have accepted that Saddam was done and said they were awaiting instructions.

In Beijing, an Iraqi diplomat said the Iraqi embassy in China had not had any contact with Baghdad for more than two weeks and was awaiting orders from a new government.

In Kuala Lumpur, Raad al-Mudars, a diplomat with the Iraqi embassy in Malaysia, said it was business as usual. "We are functioning as normal.

First Published: Apr 10, 2003 14:55 IST