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Iraq Declaration 'Totally Fails' to Meet U.N. Requirements

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2002 – Iraq's declaration that it has no weapons of mass destruction "totally fails" to meet the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, Secretary of State Colin Powell said today.

Powell also indicated the United States would begin providing U.N. inspectors with intelligence information about suspected weapons sites and other support "that would perhaps make the inspection efforts more targeted and effective."

The United States has been criticized in some circles for spouting rhetoric without providing proof. U.S. officials have countered that they didn't want to jeopardize their intelligence sources before they had a chance to evaluate the Iraqi declaration.

Resolution 1441, approved unanimously Nov. 8, states that Iraq is in material breach of several previous resolutions. It gives Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations."

Iraq's response came Dec. 7 in a 12,000-page report sent from Baghdad to the United Nations. Today, U.N. inspectors evaluating the declaration told the Security Council the Iraqi report doesn't answer questions that have been open since 1998.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte said the report is "padded with reams of extraneous material (and) fails to address scores of questions pending since 1998."

Powell said the report contains thousands of pages of material already rejected by the United Nations as incomplete.

"Other sections of the Iraqi declaration consist of long passages copied from reports written by the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency," he said. "The only changes the Iraqi regime made were to remove references critical to its own conduct."

Before U.N. inspectors left Iraq in 1998 after years of noncompliance and subterfuge on Iraq's part, they reported that Iraq had enough supplies and equipment to produce 26,000 liters of anthrax and more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, another biological agent that can be fatal within days of exposure.

Powell said the Iraqi declaration "is silent on these missing supplies." He added that this is only one example of the many unanswered questions in the declaration. The State Department today issued a fact sheet with more than a half dozen examples and bulleted issues at www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2002/16118.htm.

An Iraqi representative called the U.S. accusations "baseless." Mohammed Salman, Iraq's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, said today at U.N. headquarters in New York that Iraq is not in material breach. He accused the United States of not being concerned with disarmament, but with working to "change the legitimate government of Iraq."

Shortly before Salman made these accusations, IAEA director-general Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters that Iraq has been cooperating with the resolution in terms of access to sites in the country, but not in terms of providing the inspectors information.

"We still need much more cooperation from Iraq in terms of substance, in terms of evidence to exonerate themselves that they are clean from weapons of mass destruction," ElBaradei said in New York this afternoon after appearing before the Security Council.

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