Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is poised to lead the Iraqi people against any US aggression, Iraq's No. 2 figure Izzat Ibrahim said Friday in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
"Iraq will not abandon its right to safeguard national unity andsecurity of the people through peaceful means as the first choice,"Ibrahim, vice-chairman of the powerful Revolutionary Command Council, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
"But, if an enemy wages any aggression against us, we will go all out to deter it," he said.
"The Iraqi people will stand by their leadership at a moment when they confront the enemy," he said, expressing the belief that every Iraqi would like to sacrifice to defend his motherland's security and sovereignty.
Ibrahim arrived here earlier in the day as head of an Iraqi delegation to the 15th Arab summit scheduled on Saturday at the Egyptian Red Sea resort city.
As for Iraq's expectations for the summit, Ibrahim expressed thehope that Arab countries would support Iraq's right to fight against any aggression and colonization.
"What the United States attempts to do is to control the whole region and snatch oil and other natural resources," he said, addingif the United States succeeded in its attempts, Israel would be able to continue to pursue its aggressive policies against the Palestinians.
Saying Iraq has engaged in "sincere cooperation with UN arms inspectors, he dismissed the recent remarks by chief arms inspectorHans Blix that there was still no evidence Iraq decided to comply with its obligations to disarm.
On the same day, Iraq announced it will start destroying Al-Samoud 2 missiles on Saturday following a meeting with UN weapons experts.
Last Friday, Blix wrote to the Iraqi authorities, saying the al-Samoud 2 missiles found by the arms inspectors had a longer range than the UN-set 150-km limit and Iraq must begin destroying the missiles by March 1.
While denying the missile has violated the UN restrictions, Iraqsent a letter to Blix's office on Thursday to accept in principle the UN demand for destroying the missiles and all components.
As for the reported Iraqi-US high-level secret talks, Ibrahim said, "We have nothing to speak in secret."
The United States has accused Iraq of hiding and secretly developing banned weapons as well as having linkage with the al-Qaeda terror network, and vowed to disarm Iraq by force if necessary. Iraq strongly denies the US allegation.