Blix hails decision to destroy missiles, Bush sees no progress in Iraq disarmament
Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said that if Iraq carries out its pledge to start destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles Saturday — as he demanded — it was "a very significant piece of real disarmament."
"They say they accepted in principle, and it is to start tomorrow, so maybe tomorrow evening or Sunday we will have more to say," Blix said Friday.
The chief inspector told reporters that if Iraq carries forward with the promised destruction, its cooperation on a major disarmament issue would be reflected in his next report to the council.
Earlier, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told reporters in Paris that the missile-destruction agreement was "an important step" and "confirms that inspectors are getting results."
At the White House, press secretary Ari Fleischer dismissed the idea that the Iraqi decision reflected progress toward disarmament. "This is the deception the president predicted. We do expect that they will destroy at least some of their missiles," he said.
But President Bush won't settle for anything less than full disarmament, Fleischer said. "The Iraqi regime is a deception wrapped in a lie."
Saddam Hussein "never makes any concessions at all other than with the threat of force hanging over him," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday after talks with his Spanish counterpart, Jose Maria Aznar.
Aznar said he was confident the resolution would win approval.
"We want to the find the biggest and the widest agreement within the Security Council," he said. "We hope that increasing pressure on the Iraqi regime will be the best way to serve the wishes of peace of so many millions of people and countries around the world." (Albawaba.com)
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