BBC | Iraq Wants American Compliance Too

Sunday, 02 March 2003 05:31 by: Anonymous

     BBC | Iraq Wants American Compliance Too

     Sunday 02 March 2003

Iraq has warned it might halt the destruction of its al-Samoud II missiles if the United States continues to threaten military action without backing from the United Nations.

     "If it turns out that in the early stages during this month America is not going the legal way... why should we continue [destroying missiles]?" Iraqi presidential adviser General Amir al-Saadi said at a news conference.

     General al-Saadi said Iraq had destroyed 10 missiles since Saturday, meeting a deadline set by UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix.

     He also said that Iraq's missing anthrax had now been accounted for with the digging up of almost 157 bombs at a site south of Baghdad.

     The announcement came as Iraqi and UN officials held talks in Baghdad on Sunday night to try to clarify what has happened to missing stocks of anthrax and VX nerve gas.

     In other developments:

     * The Turkish Government says it is discussing whether to seek a second vote on allowing US troops into the country, after parliament rejects a motion on the issue

     * Russia contacts members of the UN Security Council still undecided over whether to back a second resolution, while calling for a "peaceful solution" to the crisis

     * Three Iraqi scientists refuse to be interviewed by UN inspectors, while a fourth gives himself over for questioning

     * Iraqi state newspaper Babel accuses the United Arab Emirates of being a "snake" for calling on Saddam Hussein to step down


     General al-Saadi said that Baghdad had now dealt with "practically all" of the UN inspectors' demands.

     He said excavations at the al-Aziziya air base, about 104 kilometres (65 miles) south-west of Baghdad, had uncovered the remains of bombs containing anthrax, aflotoxin and botulin, which Iraq said it had unilaterally destroyed in 1991.

     The general said eight of the bombs had been uncovered intact.

     Iraq's failure to account for some 157 R-400 bombs, designed to deliver biological and chemical weapons, has been a key sticking point with the United Nations.

     General al-Saadi also said Iraq had destroyed six more al-Samoud II missiles and two casting chambers on Sunday, in what he called an example of Iraq's "pro-active co-operation" with UN inspectors.

     Iraq has about 120 al-Samoud II missiles, which the UN says breach range limits imposed after the 1991 Gulf War.

     He said pictures of the destruction had not been released because it would be "too harsh" and "unacceptable" for the Iraqi people to see.

     Missing weapons

     A team of UN inspectors were holding talks with Iraqi officials on Sunday night to discuss Iraq's claim to be able to account for all missing chemical and biological agents.

     General al-Saadi said 1.5 missing tons of VX gas and stockpiles of anthrax that were not put into bombs were also unilaterally destroyed.

     He said Iraq knew where the destruction sites were and could carry out tests to prove the quantity of materials disposed of there.

     The general said that to all fair minded people, Iraq had done more than enough.

     "This steady drum beat of lies upon lies [from the UK and US] is all we hear these days. It is a war driven by greed and nothing else," he said.

     Washington on Saturday dismissed Iraq's destruction of the al-Samoud II missiles as a predictable "part of their game of deception".

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