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Jordan Expels 5 Iraqi Diplomats - 2003-03-23


Jordan has expelled five Iraqi diplomats. The move comes after Washington asked 60 nations to close down Iraqi diplomatic operations.

Iraq's commercial attache, cultural attache and three consular section officials have left for home. A press spokesman at the embassy says the Jordanian government expelled the five diplomats. He did not say why.

A day earlier Jordan's foreign minister said his government had not received a U.S. request to close down Iraqi diplomatic operations in Jordan. He said Jordan is a sovereign nation and would make decisions independently of other nations.

On Friday, the American administration asked some 60 countries to dismiss Iraqi diplomats in anticipation of a new government being formed, after the U.S.-led war in Iraq is over. Several Arab states who oppose the war said they would not heed Washington's call.

Jordan is trying to keep a neutral stance on the sidelines of the war across its border. But the government has allowed a few thousand American troops to operate in the country, as the foreign minister describes it, for defensive measures only.

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