Following are excerpts of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's letter to his National Assembly on the release of foreign hostages:
We deem it necessary that our National Assembly convene to take a final and irrevocable stand toward a humanitarian issue which you and the rest of the world are aware of.
The thing that worries the faithful mujahid, the honorable struggler, and the brave fighter . . . most is when the trenches in the battle arena get mixed and when some people who do not want to fight, and who are not among the evildoers, get trapped in the space between the two trenches.
Some people with no confrontational or evil intentions were caught in the middle. Some of the foreigners who have been prevented from travel fall under that category in the battle between right, led by Iraq's great people and valiant armed forces, and evil, whose failing mass is led by Bush, the enemy of God.
Despite what they had to put up with, denying those people the freedom to travel has rendered a great service to the cause of peace. And, because God has taught us that forbidden things should never be resorted to except in very urgent cases and without any excesses, we must not keep these emergency measures . . . any longer.
Our valiant Iraqi forces had not completed their mobilization in Kuwait to confront a potential military aggression. Any measure that could delay war at the time was appropriate. . . .
But now our forces, with the blessing and care of the Almighty, are fully prepared to defend our values and principles against the traitors and infidels and also in defense of the great national, regional and humanitarian gains.
Good people, men and women of different nationalities and political trends have come to Iraq. Dear brothers from Jordan, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan and the Arab Maghreb have also consulted with us on this issue, as on others.
The appeal by some Arab brothers, the decision of the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate and the European Parliament's invitation to our foreign minister for dialogue, all have encouraged us to respond to these positive changes -- changes that will have a major impact on world public opinion in general, and U.S. public opinion in particular, in restraining the evil ones who are seeking and pushing for war.
In view of all this, we have found that the reasons for which the foreigners were prevented from travel have diminished and have been replaced by something more powerful -- a change in the American public opinion which will impose restrictions on the decisions and intentions of the evil ones, led by Bush, the enemy of God.
Therefore, I urge you to take a just decision to end the travel ban imposed on foreigners and to restore to all of them the freedom to travel, apologizing to those who may have been harmed, and seeking forgiveness from God.