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US Welcomes Aziz Capture - 2003-04-25

The White House Friday welcomed the capture of former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. U.S. officials are questioning Mr. Aziz about the former Iraqi government's weapons program.

White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer says the former deputy prime minister's capture is a sign of the continuing success that U.S. troops are having in rounding up members of the former government.

He says those arrests will build a "stronger future" for Iraq, as the vestiges of Saddam Hussein's administration are captured or turn themselves in.

Mr. Aziz surrendered to U.S. forces in Iraq Thursday, and Mr. Fleischer says he is now being questioned.

"Each of the individuals who is captured, or turns themselves in, they of course will be talked to by the relevant experts in the military and other agencies, who will try to learn what they know," he explained. " I am not going to go person-by-person and talk about what it is they may or may not be saying. But suffice it to say, with every day, with every capture, we continue to learn more from the people who were inside the regime."

Mr. Fleischer says he does not know if the former deputy prime minister will be tried as a war criminal, saying that is a matter for the international community.