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Monday, July 17, 1995

Shaking Hands with Saddam

Bill Richardson visited with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad Sunday.

The White House denied any involvement in the meeting with the Iraqi dictator. However President Clinton did express his support for Richard's mission.

According to Reuters, Richardson claimed the Iraqi dictator, with a dismal human rights record, acted on 'humanitarian' grounds.

Iraq's Foreign Minister Mohammed Said Al-Sahaf has stated in recent months that a personal message from President Clinton to Saddam Hussein could help.

Peter Bourne, former Carter Administration Drug Czar who resigned after it was revealed he attended a Washington party where cocaine was being consumed, acted as an intermediary to request Richardson's help.

William Barloon and David Daliberti, working for American defense contractors, have been held in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison since March 13. They were captured on Kuwaiti border with Iraq.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher congratuled Richardson on CNN for a job the administration has been struggling with.

It was the third such high profile assignment for Richardson in eight months.

In December Richardson was in Asia when U.S. helicopter pilot Bobby Hall and Chief Warrant Officer David Hilemon were shot down over North Korean airspace.

Richardson made several efforts to Burma on behalf of Aung San Su Kyi, a dissident. Earlier this month Richardson denied making a deal for the release of Suu Kyi.

In 1994 Richardson went to Haiti to meet with Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras. Richardson reported Cedras was "not totally intransigent."