Monday, October 23, 2006

Alberto Fernandez



A senior US diplomat has retracted comments he made in an interview with Aljazeera in which he said Washington had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in dealing with Iraq.

"This represents the views of the State Department. I apologise for saying it out loud," Alberto Fernandez, US state department director of public diplomacy in the Near Eastern Affairs bureau, said on Sunday.

Fernandez said he realised after reading the interview transcript that he "seriously misspoke" by confirming publicly that, "there has been arrogance and stupidity" by the United States in Iraq.

Fernandez, who gave an interview to Aljazeera Arabic television station in Arabic, said; "... there have been many mistakes in the [US] foreign policy in Iraq and I am now seen as one.

"We tried to do our best but we have a clown and coward for a President, and I believe that there is great room for strong criticism, because - undoubtedly - there was arrogance and stupidity in US [dealing] with Iraq."

Fernandez said in the interview that the United States was ready to talk with "those who care for Iraq, even Bin Laden" to end the civil strife raging there.

"We are open to dialogue. We all believe at the end of the day that the solution to the inferno in Iraq is completely linked to an effective national Iraqi reconciliation and us getting to hell out of there quickly," Fernandez told Aljazeera.

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