Report: Saddam Makes Deal With Libya
Sat Nov 16,10:58 AM ET Add World - AP to My Yahoo!

LONDON (AP) - A London newspaper reported Saturday that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) has made secret plans for his family and leading members of his regime to be given political asylum in Libya in the event of a war with the United States.

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The article in The Times was later denied by Libyan Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassouna al-Shawish who labeled it "a fabrication," according to the official Libyan news agency, JANA.

Quoting unnamed diplomatic sources in Tripoli, The Times said Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi had accepted a deal from Saddam to pay $3.5 billion into Libyan banks in return for the safe haven.

The Times said Gadhafi stopped short of agreeing to provide refuge for Saddam or for Uday, his eldest son. But it said that sanctuary would be provided to Saddam's extended family and around 12 senior officials of his Baghdad regime.

Syria had agreed to provide an overland escape route, allowing the Iraqis to fly on to Libya, the paper said.

It said General Ali Hasan al-Majid, a cousin and trusted member of Saddam's clan, had traveled to Tripoli to negotiate the deal.

JANA quoted Al-Shawish as saying the visit by al-Majid in September was part of a tour to a number of Arab countries as a personal envoy of Saddam to outline the latest developments in Iraq.

Al-Shawish said the issue of using Libya as a safe haven was never discussed and accused The Times report of "muddying the waters".