THE SLOVAK Foreign Affairs Ministry has distanced Slovakia from a list of 40 countries to which former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein allegedly paid millions of barrels of oil in return for loyalty, the TASR news wire reported.
The Iraqi Ministry of Oil announced the list on January 25, citing documents of the State Oil Marketing Organisation as its source.
According to media reports, it was clear to the ministry that Saddam wanted to thank those who turned a blind eye to the suffering of the Iraqi people.
Among the 40 listed countries are Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, the USA, France, the UK, and Hungary.
"We have information about the list only from the media," Juraj Tomaga, the ministry's spokesperson, told journalists on January 27.
Igor Baráth, head of the National Interpol Headquarters in Slovakia, said to the Slovak daily SME on January 28 that his office had not yet received any official material regarding the list, but that they recently requested information from the Interpol headquarters and from Baghdad.
"We are waiting for the official materials so that we can start investigating the matter," Baráth said.
2. Feb 2004 at 0:00 | From press reports