President Saddam Hussein of Iraq denied in an interview broadcast today that he had any connection to the al Qaeda terrorist network or that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.
He suggested that the United States was seeking a "pretext for aggression" so as to take control of Iraq's oil.
"If we had a relationship with al Qaeda, and we believed in that relationship, we wouldn't be ashamed to admit it," Hussein said, in his first televised interview since the Iraq crisis began. "Therefore I would like to tell you directly and also through you to anyone who is interested to know that we have no relationship with al Qaeda."
Hussein said he was prepared to cooperate to avoid a conflict. "When Iraq objects to the conduct of those implementing the Security Council resolutions, that doesn't mean that Iraq wishes to push things to confrontation," the Iraqi leader said. "Iraq has no interest in war. No Iraqi official or ordinary citizen has expressed a wish to go to war. Source.