Rumsfeld: Iraqis should lead US forces to WMD; Blix urges return of UN inspectors
The US military's search for chemical and biological weapons is unlikely to succeed until Iraqis lead American forces to them, Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary, said Thursday.
"I don't think we'll discover anything. We'll discover people who will tell us where to find it," he said at a meeting with Pentagon employees. "It is not like a treasure hunt where you just run around looking everywhere."
US troops have found suspicious chemicals and facilities but tests have been negative or inconclusive.
A defense department employee asked Rumsfeld what could be done to prevent America being accused of planting any chemical or biological weapons found. Rumsfeld said such charges were likely but little could be done to avoid it.
Meanwhile, United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has again urged United States-led forces in Iraq to allow the return of UN inspectors, although he said he saw little sign of willingness to do so.
"The alliance arrived as a liberator and an occupier and that can have its disadvantages. If their experts actually find weapons of mass destruction, their veracity could be doubted," Blix said in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel.
"Therefore I am in favour of having these tasks put back under the responsibility of specialists with international legitimacy," he said.
"We have never claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, although we could not rule it out. Now we will see if London and Washington were right. I am very curious and can only wish them luck with their search.
"I can only note that the military alliance have turned down our help and have given no prospect of cooperation. I have also heard that they wanted to poach people from us, until now without success."
Blix, whose inspectors were pulled out of Iraq shortly before the war against Iraq began on March 20, said he did not expect he would be making any further trips to Baghdad.
"I am working on my final report to the Security Council and will return to my home in Sweden with the end of my contract in June," Blix said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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