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Mubarak Warns Iraq Attack Would Provoke Chaos in Mideast


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is warning that an attack against Iraq would plunge the Middle East into chaos. The Egyptian president made his comments while Iraqi officials began their own effort to gain international support against a possible attack.

President Mubarak said a U.S. attack on Iraq could cause "a state of disorder and chaos" in the Middle East.

Mr. Mubarak was speaking to university students in Alexandria, Egypt. He said he told the American government "that if you strike at the Iraqi people because of one or two individuals and leave the Palestinian issue unresolved, not a single Arab ruler will be able to curb the rising of popular sentiments."

The Egyptian president said all Arab nations are unanimous in their opposition to an attack on Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraq began a diplomatic offensive aimed at preventing a possible U.S. attack.

Iraq's vice president said Tuesday in Damascus that any return of U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq would not prevent U.S. military strikes against his country.

Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan and Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri are traveling in an effort to win Arab, African, and Asian support. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz is also expected to travel on Iraq's behalf.

Mr. Ramadan arrived in Syria for meetings with President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian president reiterated Syria's rejection of threats against Iraq.

Mr. Sabri was in China, one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council with veto power over U.N. decisions.

In Baghdad, Qatar's foreign minister met with Iraqi officials and said they want to cooperate with the United Nations. Qatar, which opposes any military effort to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, has insisted Iraq accept the return of U.N. weapons inspectors.

President Bush has warned Iraq of unspecified consequences if it refuses to allow the return of the inspectors.

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