US spurns Iraqi offer of dialogue


WASHINGTON - The United States yesterday dismissed as an "almost comical offer" a suggestion by an official Iraqi newspaper that Baghdad was prepared to open a dialogue with Washington.

Al Thawra, mouthpiece of the ruling Baath Party, said Iraq realised that the US had vital interests in the Gulf. "Iraq has no interest in fighting the United States or being hostile to it. It has more than one advantage in dealing with it," it said.

The State Department spokesman, Mr Nicholas Burns, said that if President Saddam Hussein wanted a dialogue he first had to fulfil UN resolutions stemming from Iraq's Gulf War defeat, "and he hasn't done that in any way, shape or form."