AWB ‘knew Iraq plans a year before’
A year before the invasion of Iraq, the then Australian ambassador to the United Nations, John Dauth, confidentially told AWB’s former chairman Trevor Flugge the Howard Government would participate in miliary action with the US to overthrow Saddam Hussein, new AWB documents reveal.
AWB Board minutes show Mr Flugge told the AWB board on February 27, 2002, that Mr Dauth confided in him that he believed US military action to depose Saddam Hussein was inevitable and that the Australian Government would support and participate in such action, Fairfax newspapers report.
The documents, released at the Cole inquiry yesterday, undercut previous statements by Prime Minister John Howard that Australia did not agree to join the war before the UN debate in late 2002 and early 2003.
The conversation between Mr Dauth and Mr Flugge is reported to have taken place 13 months before the military action began.
Mr Dauth also predicted Iraq would invite UN weapons inspectors to return to the country to hold off any US military action for a year to 18 months.
The former UN ambassador also promised he would give Mr Flugge as much warning as possible about when the military action would begin, Fairfax reports.