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Asia Welcomes Saddam's Fall, Pledges Support for Reconstruction Effort - 2003-04-10


U.S allies in Asia have welcomed the apparent fall of Saddam Hussein's government and pledged to support Iraq's reconstruction. Asian governments that opposed the U.S.-led war to disarm Iraq are calling for a United Nations role in post-war Iraq.

A day after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's government, two U.S. allies, Japan and the Philippines, vowed to help the people of Iraq rebuild their country.

In Tokyo, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi welcomed the apparent quick end to the war. The government has promised $100 million in humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda says as the world's number two economy, Japan should do what it can to rebuild Iraq.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo says Manila will send 500 peacekeepers and relief workers to help rebuild Iraq.

On Wednesday, U.S.-led coalition forces gained control of the Iraqi capital after three weeks of battle. Scores of Iraqis cheered in the streets, tore up banners of Saddam Hussein and toppled his statues. It is not clear yet what happened to the Iraqi leader.

Indonesia and China, which opposed the war, called Thursday for a United Nations role in post-war Iraq.

For many Iraqi diplomatic missions in Asia, it is business as usual, although some diplomats are in limbo over the fate of their government in Baghdad.

"For myself, I have no contact with Baghdad," said Qasim Shakir, Iraq's top diplomat in Tokyo.

Some Iraqi diplomats remain defiant, calling the coalition forces in Baghdad a "foreign invasion."

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