U.N. experts monitor one of Saddam palaces as Bush expresses skepticism over inspections

Published December 2nd, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

UN weapons inspectors on Tuesday made their first visit to one of Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces.  


After seven minutes of discussion, the huge gates were opened at the west Baghdad complex, one of many presidential palaces in Iraq, and a half dozen UN vehicles entered.  


The Iraqis have until Sunday to disclose details of their chemical, biological and nuclear programs, but they have been insisting that the country is free of weapons of mass destruction.  



President Bush warned Saddam Hussein that he has until a Sunday deadline to prove he is serious about averting war. After the first week of United Nations weapons inspections, Bush said: "So far, the signs are not encouraging."  


"The inspectors are not in Iraq to play hide-and-seek with Mr. Saddam Hussein," the president said Monday in a get-tough speech at the Pentagon.  


"In the inspections process, the United States will be making one judgment: Has Saddam Hussein changed his behavior of the last 11 years? Has he decided to cooperate willingly and comply completely, or has he not? So far the signs are not encouraging," Bush said, according to AP.  


As evidence, he noted that Iraq has recently fired upon U.S. and British pilots patrolling no-fly zones over Iraq and has responded to United Nations disarmament demands with "protests and falsehoods."  


"On or before the eighth of December, Iraq must provide a full and accurate declaration of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs," Bush said.  


"That declaration must be credible and complete — or the Iraqi dictator will have demonstrated to the world once again that he has chosen not to change his behavior," Bush aired.  


And the American president added: "The temporary peace of denial and looking away from danger would only be a prelude to broader war and greater horror. America will confront gathering dangers early before our options become limited and desperate."  


British document 

Meanwhile, Britain accused Saddam Hussein of ruthless disregard for human rights including torture and arbitrary killings. 


In a 24-page review, the British Foreign Office said Saddam's regime routinely tortured prisoners, hanging them blindfolded and naked from ceilings, gouging eyes and using electric drills on hands. 


The British Foreign Office report said "torture is systematic in Iraq," with the most senior figures in the regime "personally involved," while Iraqi women "lack even the basic right to live," and the rape of female prisoners "is part of the regime's policy."  


"Saddam Hussein has been ruthless in his treatment of any opposition to him since his rise to power in 1979," it alleged. "A cruel and callous disregard for human life and suffering remains the hallmark of the regime." (Albawaba.com)

© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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