Iraq says Blix may visit on March 17
Iraq said on Sunday chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix might visit Baghdad on March 17, a deadline proposed by the United States and Britain for Iraq to disarm or face military action.
General Hussam Mohammed Amin, head of the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate (NMD), added Iraq believed it had little hope that it could avert a U.S.-led invasion no matter what Baghdad did on the disarmament issue.
Asked whether Blix would visit soon, Amin told a news conference in Baghdad: "I don't know really, but he might, he might visit us on the 17th of this month."
Ewen Buchanan, a spokesman for Blix, said: "I am not aware at this point of any official invitation for Mr. Blix to go to Baghdad. And if there were an invitation we would study it to see what would be the purpose of such a visit and what would be gained if anything."
Asked whether Baghdad believed that the United States would attack whatever it did on cooperation and disarmament, Amin said: "Yes, we believe that.
"But there is a probability that the situation will be enhanced by the supporting of other states in the Security Council and the people around the world."
He said Iraq was taking all eventualities into consideration. "We are preparing for all probabilities. We are preparing ourselves for war. At the same time we are working to resolve any pending issues with" weapons inspectors, he said.
Amin said Iraq was also continuing its work to clarify any outstanding disarmament issues regardless of the deadline. "This issue of seven days, 10 days, does not concern us technical people. We are exerting all our efforts...to complete our work," he said.
Amin said Iraq destroyed six more banned al-Samoud missiles on Sunday, bringing to 46 the total number of missiles scrapped since Blix ordered Baghdad to start eliminating the program as of March 1. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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