Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who faces charges of running a death squad, said Thursday he will meet with defected Syrian envoy Nawaf Fares soon over his claims Damascus helped insurgents enter Iraq.
Hashemi’s purported meeting, which he said would be in “the next few days” in Doha, comes after the Iraqi government said it would pursue Fares for the claims, arguing that he was admitting to involvement in the apparent moves.
It was not immediately clear if Fares had agreed to the meeting.
“It is expected that his excellency the vice president will meet Fares at his residence in Doha in the next few days in order to get further information on the scandal,” a statement posted on Hashemi’s website said.
The statement said it was “issued by (Hashemi’s) temporary office in Kurdistan,” an autonomous region of north Iraq, but Hashemi is thought to still be in Turkey, where he has stayed for the past several months.
Hashemi has been on trial in absentia on charges he ran death squads, accusations he has dismissed as politically-motivated.
Fares said in an interview with Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper that the Syrian government “formed an alliance with al-Qaeda” following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003.
“All Arabs and other foreigners were encouraged to go to Iraq via Syria, and their movements were facilitated by the Syrian government. As a governor at the time, I was given verbal commandments that any civil servant that wanted to go would have his trip facilitated, and that his absence would