Eighteen foreigners - three Americans, 10 Britons and five Germans - arrived in the Jordanian capital Tuesday after being freed by President Saddam Hussein of Iraq.
The Americans and the Britons were released after their relatives went to Baghdad to plead for their freedom.John Stevenson of Panama City, Fla.; Fred Harrington of Bellevue, Wash.; and Claude Jesse of Buffalo Grove, Ill., complained they were ignored by the Bush administration. They said only their relatives helped free them.
The foreigners flew into Amman aboard two Iraqi Airways flights.
The five Germans had been hiding in Kuwait since Aug. 7, five days after Iraq seized control of the Persian Gulf emirate.
The Germans said they could not reach Baghdad in time to join 104 of their countrymen who flew out of the Iraqi capital on Sunday after Saddam ordered the release of all German nationals.
The Britons were freed after their wives or daughters flew to Baghdad and met with Saddam, who ordered their release in appreciation of "the women's visit and the role of women in general."
The Americans' relatives also met with Saddam.
The Americans and the Britons were accompanied by their relatives. The women in the British group carried flowers; the Americans waved the U.S. and Iraqi flags.
The Germans expressed concern for Westerners left behind.
Hundreds of foreigners have been barred from leaving Iraq and Kuwait, and some are being held at strategic sites in hope of warding off any attack by the U.S.-led multinational force.
"There are a lot of people still hiding in various parts of Kuwait," Wruck Uwe, a German commercial photographer, said. "The telephone system in Kuwait is still good, and we kept in touch with a lot of others like us."
In Washington, the State Department said the latest release of hostages is "cynical manipulation" that amounts to "playing with lives."
The remarks by State Department spokesman Richard Boucher followed a report by Iraq's official news agency, INA, that Saddam had ordered the release of all American hostages whose wives were currently visiting Baghdad.
"We consider Iraq's policy and Saddam Hussein's playing with hostages cynical manipulation and we don't think people should be involved in it. It's been clear all along that he's been playing with lives, playing with their relatives and playing with all our sympathies," Boucher said.
As many as 2,000 foreigners - including about 900 Americans - are still believed trapped or held against their will in Iraq or Kuwait.