Iraq says there is nothing to add to weapons declaration, no need to take scientists abroad
Iraq is ready to talk to the U.N. inspection commission about its criticisms of Baghdad's 12,000-page declaration on weapons of mass destruction, but it has nothing new to add, Iraq's chief representative to the commission said Tuesday.
Speaking to AP, Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin indicated he saw no reason for the criticisms expressed last week by chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"An opportunity was missed in the declaration to give a lot of evidence," Blix told reporters after reporting to the U.N. Security Council on the declaration.
Amin said Iraqi government was "willing to reach an understanding" with Blix and ElBaradei, but "we have nothing to add, really, of new information, because the information we gave is the real and complete information.
"We know very well, and they know very well, that we have no weapons of mass destruction."
Amin said his government would not threaten any Iraqi scientist who accepts an invitation from the inspectors to leave the country for further interviews about Iraq's weapons programs.
Amin conveyed the inspectors had been interviewing Iraqi scientists for about 10 days, and his government saw no need to take them abroad. "We see no necessity for that. In fact, this is not our opinion only. It is the opinion of Blix and ElBaradei too. They said they do not see any necessity to interview the scientists outside Iraq.
"This subject is related to the person's right to choose. No one can force him — neither the Iraqi government, nor the others to leave his country. I have no comment on this, but we will not punish anyone."
Meanwhile, teams of inspectors from the United Nations and IAEA visited eight sites on Tuesday, according to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. Among the sites was the Hateen Company, a complex of factories 70 kilometers (south of Baghdad) that produces artillery ammunition, among other things.
Iraqi officials said the team had gone past the city of Kut and toward the port city of Basra. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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