Monday, February 10, 2003

Malaysia recalls diplomats families from Iraq

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has evacuated family members of its diplomatic mission in Iraq in anticipation of a US-led attack on the country, a senior official said Sunday.

“About eight family members, including wives and children of our diplomats stationed in Baghdad returned home early this month,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. “The situation now is fluid,” he added.

Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar Sunday said only diplomatic officials remained in Iraq. “Only eight staff members remain in the embassy now and they will be flown home if the United States attacks Iraq,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency.

Syed Hamid said some 200 Malaysian students in Iraq had been advised to be ready to leave Iraq if necessary, adding that if a war breaks out, it would threaten world peace.

“The war will not only create instability in the world, but also worsen the economies of developing countries,” he warned. Syed Hamid said the war would not only involve Iraq but would spill over the whole of the West Asia region.

Asked if the possible war in Iraq would have an effect on the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit here from February 20 to 25, he said: “If there is war, then there is all the more reason for NAM countries to have a meeting in Kuala Lumpur because we must have a cohesive voice”. —AFP