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Powell: Foreigners in Baghdad Should Consider Leaving - 2003-03-16

Amid growing concern about the possibility of war in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says foreigners in Baghdad should consider leaving.

In an interview on the U.S. television program Fox News Sunday, Secretary Powell said journalists, weapons inspectors and others should consider leaving the Iraqi capital, not only because of the possibility of war, but also because they could be taken hostage.

"I think these are expected and prudent actions. We will also be trimming down our presence in the region," Mr. Powell said.

The German foreign ministry is urging all German nationals to leave Baghdad.

Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Aldouri, told CNN's Late Edition program he hopes war can be averted. But he said the conflict has nothing to do with foreign non-combatants.

"Certainly, they will be free, as they are, actually, to come or to leave the country whenever they want," he said.

President Bush said after meeting with the leaders of Britain and Spain Sunday in the Azores that Monday is the final day for the U.N. Security Council to act on a resolution to disarm Iraq.