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Powell Welcomes Saudi Proposal For Muslim Troops

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Thursday that the United States would soon begin “intensive discussions” with Islamic countries to explore Saudi Arabia’s proposal to mobilize Muslim troops to help stabilize Iraq. He described the Saudi proposal, outlined over the past two days in talks with Saudi and Iraqi officials in the Saudi port city of Jiddah, as “an interesting idea, a welcome idea.” The United States had tried without success to persuade Islamic countries to join the multinational military force in Iraq. But Powell said the concept of a Muslim force from Middle Eastern and other countries is now more viable because two basic conditions have been met: The multinational force now has U.N. approval, and the United States handed over political power to an interim Iraqi government a month ago. He cautioned, however, that several key points still need to be explored. Full Story

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