SLUG: 2-277874 UN-IRAQ DEFECTION (S-only)
TITLE=U-N-Iraq Defection (S Only)
INTRO: Sources at the United Nations say that at least two Iraqi diplomats are seeking political asylum in the United States. V-O-A Correspondent Breck Ardery reports from the United Nations.
TEXT: The sources say that the diplomats, serving in Iraq's mission to the United Nations, are asking for asylum for themselves and their families. They say the men reportedly went to a New York police station last Friday to make the request and the matter was referred to federal government authorities.
New York police confirm they did pass along at least one case of an asylum seeker but offered no further details.
At the U-S State Department, spokesman Richard Boucher had no comment on the reports, saying the Department does not discuss reported asylum requests.
Iraq's permanent representative to the United Nations, Mohammed al-Douri, told reporters it is his understanding that several diplomats on his staff had been scheduled to return to Iraq but he did not know if they all had returned. He was also unable to confirm that any of them are asking for asylum in the United States.(Signed)
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