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President Hosni Mubarak has offered to grant asylum to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein if it would help end that country's turmoil.

In an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Mubarak also restated his opposition to using outside force to remove Saddam or any Arab leader. The interview was to be published Saturday, but an advance copy of the text was made available today to The Associated Press.Mubarak told the paper he was willing to take in Saddam as a political refugee "if this means a solution to the problem of the Iraqi people and would prevent a bloodbath in Iraq."

There has been no indication Saddam is seeking to relinquish power in Iraq or to leave his homeland.

But questions about the stability of the regime have been raised by the Aug. 8 defection of two of his sons-in-law, including a former defense minister, Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel al-Majid.

Mubarak spoke after Jordan, an ally of Iraq, joined gulf countries in a growing chorus demanding Saddam's ouster.