Foreign Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf has stressed that Iraq will only accept a UN disarmament program if it is applied across the Middle East and includes Israel, the official INA news agency reported Sunday.
"Iraq will accept no (arms) control established solely over its territory because such control should encompass all states in the region, especially the Zionist entity," INA cited Sahhaf as telling parliament Saturday.
Sahhaf said Iraq's acceptance of the continuation of arms inspections under UN Security Council 1284 would be based on "paragraph 14 of resolution 687 calling for the Middle East to be made a region exempt of weapons of mass destruction".
Sahhaf reiterated Iraq's rejection of resolution 1284 which he said "offers no solution, not even a basis for a solution" to the impasse between Iraq and the United Nations.
Iraq has repeatedly said it would not cooperate with the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) set up by UN Security Council last December in resolution 1284, which offers to suspend the sanctions if Baghdad cooperates fully with the inspectors.
The United Nations withdrew its inspectors from Iraq in December 1998 on the eve of US and British air raids mounted after Baghdad hindered their work.
"The refusal to accept the return of international inspectors will not lead to a show of force" against Iraq by the United States because it is "convinced that it would not reap political dividends" through a new military campaign, Sahhaf said.
The minister said Baghdad was ready to examine "all questions the United Nations would pose to get out of the impasse" caused by resolution 1284.
"Iraq will accept nothing less than a worldwide lifting of the embargo" that the United Nations imposed on it after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Sahhaf warned -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
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