BAGHDAD, IRAQ, OCT. 25 -- French citizens given permission to leave Iraq will begin departing on Saturday, Western diplomatic sources said today.

Meanwhile, President Saddam Hussein decreed that Bulgarians who have completed contracts in Iraq may leave if they wish. They are among thousands of foreigners stranded following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait Aug. 2.

{Nine Americans freed by Iraq, including two residents of the Washington area and a student at the University of Virginia, arrived at Dulles International Airport last night. Story, Page D1}.

Also today, five Swedes whose release was negotiated by a Swedish envoy last week reached Amman, Jordan. Peter Osvald, head of the political department at the Swedish Foreign Ministry, had hoped to win the release of all 90 Swedes still held in Iraq and Kuwait. But Iraqi authorities agreed to allow only five to leave for "humanitarian reasons," a Swedish Embassy spokesman in Amman said.

Iraq said this week it would free more than 300 French nationals, but it was not known how many would leave this weekend or how they would travel.

In the weeks since the invasion, some of the stranded foreigners were allowed to leave after initially being prevented from doing so. Western women and children were given permission to travel, and in recent days groups of Americans, Britons and other Westerners have been freed. Some of the foreigners have been held at strategic locations in Iraq and Kuwait as "human shields" against attack by multinational forces confronting Iraq.

French President Francois Mitterrand said France would not agree to any concessions toward Baghdad in exchange for hostages, but Iraq's government-run daily Al-Jumhouriya said today that France might withdraw some of its forces from the region in a move tied to the freeing of French nationals.

In Paris, officials denied the report. French Defense Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement said there was "no question" of France reducing its troop strength in the region.

"On the contrary, there are rather reinforcements which could be sent to assure better self-protection," Chevenement said. He did not elaborate on any plans to beef up French forces. France has about 5,000 troops in Saudi Arabia and 2,000 sailors aboard more than a dozen ships in regional waters.