Blix speaks about ''very substantial'' talks in Baghdad; Bush says Saddam wasting last opportunity
Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said after a first round of disarmament talks with Iraqi officials on Saturday that the discussions were "very substantial."
"We had a long day of discussion. They were useful discussions," Blix told reporters after he and chief U.N. nuclear expert Mohamed ElBaradei had held 4-1/2 hours of talks in Baghdad with an Iraqi monitoring team led by presidential adviser Amer al-Saadi.
Asked how he would describe the discussions, Blix said: "Very substantial."
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Saturday states such as France and Germany that favor giving Iraq another chance to disarm are undermining what slim chance may exist to avoid war.
"There are those who counsel that we should delay preparations" for war against Iraq. "Ironically, that approach could well make war more likely, not less, because delaying preparations sends a signal of uncertainty," Rumsfeld said in the opening address at an international conference on security policy.
Rumsfeld said "there is no chance" Saddam would disarm voluntarily or flee his country if given yet another opportunity to comply with the U.N. Security Council resolution from November that demands Iraq's complete disarmament.
According to AP, Rumsfeld said Saddam has time to avert war but should not be given another U.N. reprieve. "We all hope for a peaceful resolution," Rumsfeld said. "But the one chance for a peaceful resolution is to make clear that free nations are prepared to use force if necessary -- that the world is united and, while reluctant, is willing to act."
On his part, President Bush said he would not wait much longer before moving against Saddam Hussein, declaring in his weekly radio address that the Iraqi leader is wasting a last opportunity to come clean.
Bush added Saddam "was given a final chance. He is throwing away that chance." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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