Speaking to the VOA Kurdish Service today, Dr. Mohammed Sabir Ismail said that throughout the 80s and after the first Gulf War, Saddam orchestrated "a diplomacy of war and spying."
"Most of the Iraqi diplomats then were members of Iraqi intelligence," Dr. Sabir said. "Most of the workers in the embassies were spying on their ambassadors and other diplomats. Their job was not to collect information about the host country, but to collect information about their superiors. This will cease and the new embassies will cease to be nests of spying. Rather they will be home for all Iraqis overseas.
Dr. Sabir said the focus of Iraq's new diplomacy will be peace and friendship, "based on respect for mutual interests."
"In particular," he said, "we would like the Arab countries to have normal relations with us. We ask them to help us achieve our goals, and not to put obstacles in the say of achieving these goals."
Dr. Sabir served as the representative in North America of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) between 2001 and 2004.
VOA's Kurdish Service airs four hours of programming daily to Iraq, Iran and the rest of the Middle East. Shows are available for live and on-demand listening via the Internet at www.voanews.com/kurdish.
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