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LONDON (AP) -- Saddam Hussein remains in Iraq and is moving around the country, the leader of a U.S.-backed Iraqi opposition group said in an interview broadcast Monday.
Ahmad Chalabi, who heads the Iraqi National Congress, told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that his group was tracking Saddam around Iraq, but with a delay of at least half a day on his latest position.
"We have received information about his movements and the movements of his sons," he told the BBC. "We cannot locate Saddam so that we have a coincidence of time and position simultaneously to locate him.
"But we are aware of his movements and we are aware of the areas that he has been to, and we learn of this within 12 to 24 hours."
The INC has said that Saddam's son-in-law, Jamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan al-Tikriti, and one of the toppled leader's bodyguards turned themselves into the group after returning from neighboring Syria. The men could have information on the whereabouts of Saddam, an INC spokesman said.
Chalabi, who left Iraq in 1958 and returned to Baghdad last week with U.S. help, has been touted by some in Washington as a possible political leader in a new Iraqi government. But in the BBC interview, Chalabi repeated claims that he has no political ambitions in Iraq.
His situation is complicated by legal troubles in neighboring Jordan.
In 1992, he was convicted in absentia by a Jordanian court of embezzlement, fraud and breach of trust after a bank he ran collapsed with about $300 million in missing deposits; he was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
Chalabi, who left Jordan before the case went to trial, denies the charges, saying Saddam was behind them.
Chalabi also told the BBC that the United Nations should not play a major role in postwar Iraq, because Iraqis see it as having opposed military action to dislodge Saddam.
The United Nations can and deserves only a limited role," he said. "It has little credibility in Iraq and the people of Iraq view it as a de facto ally of Saddam."
However, British Foreign Office minister Mike O'Brien said Monday that the UN should be involved in helping Iraq move toward a democracy.
"I don't think they want to be involved in any of the security areas," he told the BBC. "But in terms of looking at the way in which the process of democratization takes place, the elections, the running of those ... I hope they will have a voice and an influence."
O'Brien said he hoped Syria, which the United States has accused of sponsoring terrorism and harboring remnants of Saddam's regime, would not hinder Iraq's transition to democracy.
He said Syrian President Bashar Assad assured him that Damascus had tried to prevent volunteers from crossing to help fight U.S. troops, but added those efforts were not successful.
"Many of the volunteers have gone across and have been involved in action against British and U.S. soldiers," he said. "We very much regret that and I've made that clear to President Assad."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)