U.S. administration says Iraq in '\'material breach'\' of U.N. disarmament resolution
Iraq is in "material breach" of a U.N. disarmament resolution, Secretary of State Colin Powell declared Thursday.
Baghdad's arms declaration "totally fails" to meet a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an accurate, full and complete inventory of weapons, Powell told a news conference at the State Department. He called Iraq's 12,000 page declaration "a catalogue of recycled information and flagrant omissions."
Powell said, "this is a new material breach" on the part of Baghdad, following many violations over the past decade.
"Our experts have found it to be anything but accurate, full or complete," Powell said. "It totally fails to meet the resolution's requirements."
"These are material omissions that in our view constitute another material breach," Powell conveyed. "The world should view this with great skepticism," Powell said of the Iraq's arms declaration.
Powell said Baghdad's report did not even cover information that U.N. inspectors had gleaned before they were forced to leave in late 1998.
"We are disappointed, but we are not deceived," Powell added. "We have seen this game again and again; an attempt to sow confusion to buy time, hoping the world will lose interest."
Earlier, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said he would tell the Security Council that there is "not much" new information about Iraq's weapons programs in its latest declaration.
"There is a good bit of information about non-arms related activities," he said. "Not much information about the weapons." Blix said gaps remain in the declaration.
"The absence of supporting evidence is what we are talking about mainly. That continues," he said.
At the closed council meeting Thursday, Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, were to give their initial views on the declaration.
According to AP, Blix said on his arrival at U.N. headquarters that he will tell the council that U.N. inspectors who returned to Baghdad last month have been given "prompt access to sites all over and there has been a good deal of help on the logistical side."
ElBaradei's message was likely to be that "there's nothing new" on Iraqi weapons programs in the nuclear declaration and further inspections are needed, an IAEA official told AP.
ElBaradei was likely to resist U.S. pressure to declare that Iraq has violated Resolution 1441, the official said. U.N. diplomats said Blix was expected to take a similar position. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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