Four more empty chemical warheads found in Iraq; U.S., Turkey hold high level military talks
Top U.N. officials said Baghdad disclosed it found four more empty chemical warheads like a dozen others discovered last week. U.N. chief weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei are set to conclude Monday their two days of talks in Baghdad.
Late Sunday, Blix said that the Iraqis told them during the talks that they had found four more empty chemical weapons warheads similar to 12 others discovered by U.N. inspectors Thursday at an ammunition dump south of Baghdad.
Blix added the Iraqis offered three or four of 11 documents requested by the United Nations.
In Washington, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the Iraqi declaration of the four warheads "should not be mistaken for genuine cooperation in an effort to disarm."
He said inspectors have said Iraq has failed to account for nearly 30,000 shells and "bringing forward four is hardly evidence of a good faith effort." Stanzel then included the 12 shells found earlier when he said, "Four down, 29,984 to go."
The Iraqi news agency also reported that the top U.N. inspectors met Sunday with Iraq's vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, who urged them to devote their activities in Iraq to "finding the truth and being in good faith."
Blix and ElBaradei are to meet again with Iraqi officials Monday before departing for Athens, Greece.
"We have to ask: is this one find or are there weapons hidden all over the country?" Blix asked.
Meanwhile, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, met Turkish military chief, Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, on Monday after a brief visit Sunday to Turkey's southern Incirlik air base.
The United States is urging Turkey to allow the United States to station ground troops in the country for a possible attack on Iraq.
Turkey's Prime Minister Abdullah Gul has embarked on a diplomatic maneuver to avert the U.S. looming war on Iraq .
Hurriyet daily reported Sunday that Gul outlined Turkish plans to try to find a peaceful solution to the current threat of war with Iraq to U.S. President George Bush.
Turkey's initiative to bring five neighboring countries around the negotiating table with Turkey itself was set out in a letter sent by Gul to Bush, the paper reported.
Egypt has accepted Turkey's invitation to attend the meeting, which Turkey hopes will also include Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Prior to this meeting the foreign ministers of the participant countries are going to hold a session in Damascus, Syria, to prepare the outlines of the conference for the heads of state.
In the letter, Gul also reiterated that the Turkish government thinks any military action against Iraq cannot go ahead without a new resolution from the UN. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)