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US abandons the Chalabis
August 10, 2004 08:20 IST
The United States has said its past friendship with Ahmad Chalabi, against whom an arrest warrant was issued by the Iraqi government, would not come in the way of justice.
"This is not a question of past associations or friendships. This is a question of the Iraqi justice system at work, and we are going to play the appropriate role, which is to let that process take its course," state department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said on Monday.
Asked whether the functioning of the tribunal to try former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, which is headed by Chalabi's nephew Salem Chalabi, who has also been issued a warrant, will be affected, he said, "This is an issue, again, under investigation before the bar of Iraqi justice. So we are certainly not in a position to prejudge what's going to happen."
As regards the special tribunal, he said it is the position of the Iraqi government that those charged with serious crimes from the former regime will be brought to justice in a transparent and fair way.
That is a commitment that the Iraqi government has made to the people, and the US position is to support them and try to help them in any way that it can, he said.
"So this is a question about government policies and institutions; it is not a question about personalities," Ereli said.
He said the counterfeiting charges levelled against Ahmad Chalabi "are certainly new to us. I am not aware that we had any notion of wrongdoing in the past. Our dealings were as transparent as they could be".