U.N.-Iraq talks fail to produce agreement on return of inspectors
After two days of talks, the United Nations said Friday it had failed to convince Baghdad to allow the return of U.N. weapons inspectors. Diplomats from both sides agreed, however, to continue talks in Europe in the coming months.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the Iraqis needed to consult with officials in Baghdad and no date was set for the next round.
"There has been some movement, but obviously not enough," Annan said Friday. "The Iraqis didn't say yes" to a return of UN weapons inspectors, he added after talks with Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri. "The Iraqi delegation has to report back but the technical talks will continue," Annan stated.
The unsuccessful session came after U.N. and Iraqi technical experts discussed the details of the return of inspectors should there have been an agreement.
Sabri said the talks would continue on a technical basis and called the two days of negotiations "constructive." "We agreed to continue contact on technical matters," he said. "There are a lot of issues involved."
Sabri, meanwhile, dismissed an article in Friday's New York Times which said the Bush Administration had drawn up plans for an attack. "This was not a factor in our discussions," Sabri commented according to AP. "We heard a lot of rubbish about these plans. These are wishes entertained by old colonialists and evil people."
The U.S. newspaper reported that a top secret US military document outlines a massive, three-pronged attack on Iraq by land, sea and air with as many as 250,000 troops and hundreds of warplanes, described as a preliminary "concept" for a war. (Albawaba.com)
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