His message comes one month after US forces withdrew from Iraqi urban centres, the first step in a bilateral security pact that led many resistance groups to claim victory over US forces.

US troops are supposed to fully withdraw by 2012.

'Recognise the resistance'

Al-Douri also stipulated that the council would only negotiate with the US until they officially and completely withdraw from Iraq and "recognise the resistance as the only most legitimate representative of the Iraqi people."

As a final request, he stressed the need for "the occupying forces to compensate Iraq for all the damage they have caused the country" and demanded the release of all Iraqi prisoners.

Al-Douri, who was rated number six in a deck of 55 cards that showed pictures of the US army’s most wanted Iraqis, disappeared from the public eye along with Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president, after the US occupation.

The US army's list of most wanted Iraqis was made of people close to Saddam, most nominally members of Iraq's former ruling Baath party and military elites.

Al-Douri served as the Iraqi vice president and deputy chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council, the highest appointment in Saddam's government.

Following Saddam's execution on December 30, 2006, al-Douri is believed to have become the new leader of the banned Iraqi Baath Party on January 3, 2007.