Saddam hails Clinton anti-war record

BAGHDAD (Reuter) - President Saddam Hussein, trying to mend fences with the United States, praised President Bill Clinton's opposition to the Vietnam War and urged him to display similar wisdom in dealing with Iraq.

'There are some trying to portray the anti-war past of Clinton as a matter of personal weakness, while we consider such a stand a mark of strength,' President Saddam said in remarks published in Iraqi newspapers. 'I simply believe that we can pave the way for building new relations based on mutual respect and legitimate interests.' He made the comments in what was described as 'a thorough and comprehensive political dialogue' on Saturday with the former US attorney-general Ramsey Clark.

In Ankara, Turkey's Foreign Minister, Hikmet Cetin, said that Iraq had pulled all missiles out of the southern and northern no-fly zones as a gesture to the new US administration. Mr Cetin said Iraq had also withdrawn troops from the north and closed all radars there. 'By this attitude, Iraq wants to give a message to the new Clinton government,' Mr Cetin said.