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Ivanov: Iraq Should Accept New WMD Inspection Teams

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2002 – Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov today opined here that his country and the United States could successfully perform any renewed inspections for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

U.S Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Ivanov were approached by reporters while entering the Pentagon River Entrance after a military welcoming ceremony for the Russian leader. Rumsfeld quietly stood nearby as Ivanov emphasized to reporters that Iraq should unconditionally receive new, international, WMD inspection teams.

America and Russia, he remarked, are both experienced in looking for WMDs and could "easily establish" whether Iraq possesses chemical, biological and nuclear WMDs. Ivanov added he believed new inspection teams could uncover weaponry Iraq is required to give up under agreements it signed to end the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War.

Allowing U.N. weapons inspection teams free access was part of those agreements. The inspectors searched for weapons of mass destruction until Iraq kicked them out in 1998. Saddam had been suspected of moving his suspected WMD assets around; his shell game thereby negated the inspectors' efforts.

The United Nations is now considering whether to issue new resolutions to force Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to relinquish his biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs.

Ivanov remarked it's not his business to decide whether new U.N. resolutions are needed against Iraq, "but I think we should send the inspectors there."

President Bush has been citing Saddam's untrustworthiness as an impediment to the success of any renewed inspections. He is seeking congressional authority to employ military force, if necessary, to disarm and overthrow the Iraqi leader. He told the United Nations Sept. 12 that if the international body doesn't act, the United States will.

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DoD News Transcript: Secretary Rumsfeld Stakeout with Russian MoD Sergey Borisovich Ivanov, Sept. 19, 2002

Click photo for screen-resolution imageRussian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov gestures to make a point with reporters outside the Pentagon Sept. 19, 2002. Ivanov, visiting with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, maintained that Iraq should unconditionally accept new weapons of mass destruction search teams. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore.   
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