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US to oppose Iraq weapons inspections

by too rich Thursday, Oct. 03, 2002 at 1:12 AM

Im sure you all saw this, but woah, this is fucking hillarious.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The United States will oppose the

return of international weapons inspectors to Iraq unless the U.N.

Security Council passes a new resolution first, outlining both the

need for those inspections to be unfettered and the consequences

to Iraq if they are not, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday.

His comments follow an

announcement in Vienna by Hans Blix,

chief U.N. weapons inspector that Iraq

had agreed to allow the return of a

preliminary contingent of inspectors

within two weeks.

Secretary of State Colin Powell

Tuesday said, "We do not believe they

should go back in under the old set of

resolutions and under the old

inspections regime. And therefore we

do not believe they should go in until

they have new instructions in the form

of a new resolution."

Earlier Tuesday, a senior State

Department official told United Press International that if such a

resolution were unattainable, the United States would "go into

thwart mode."

In Vienna Tuesday, Blix, who is chairman of the U.N. Monitoring,

Verification and Inspections Commission, said the talks with Iraq

dealt with the logistics for a return of inspectors after a four-year

hiatus, but added that Iraqi officials had assured him they would be

granted unfettered access to suspected weapons sites.

He said the talks, which included representatives of the

International Atomic Energy Agency, were "businesslike and

focused."

The agreement, however, did not sideline a 1998 memorandum

of understanding negotiated by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan

and endorsed by the Security Council, which placed restrictions on

surprise inspections at eight so-called "presidential sites."

Those sites cover hundreds of acres both within and outside of

Baghdad, and critics of the inspection process argued that the

memorandum gave too much leeway to the Iraqis to hide potential

weapons production equipment.

"On the question of access, it was clarified that all sites are

subject to immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access," Blix

said in a statement.

"However, the Memorandum of Understanding of 1998

established special procedures for access to eight presidential

sites."

He also said that the Baghdad team handed over four CD-ROMs

containing the backlog of semi-annual reports Iraq was to deliver to

the United Nations since 1998.

The UNMOVIC chairman said he expected lead inspectors to be

on the ground by Oct. 15 and that they could fly into the country,

landing at Baghdad's Saddam International Airport, rather than at

the Habbaniya landing strip some 50 miles from the capital.

"We went through a very great many practical arrangements," he

said. "They start with when do you fly in to Baghdad, then how are

the customs controls, what can you bring in, the accommodations

of inspectors in Baghdad, the premises for our center in Baghdad

and (its) refurbishment, the movement within Iraq."

Conditions on inspectors entering the restricted sites would be a

sticking point with the United States and Britain, who say the

complexes must be open to inspection since contraband material

could be concealed there.

The White House Tuesday afternoon was unavailable for

immediate comment on the Blix deal.

Blix is scheduled to brief the United Nations Thursday on his

talks with the Iraqi delegation.

Also Tuesday -- at a meeting at U.N. world headquarters in New

York -- the five permanent, veto-wielding members of the council

failed to reach agreement on a text for a U.S. draft resolution on Iraq.

Ambassadors from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United

States left their closed-door session adjacent to the formal council

chamber tight-lipped, refusing questions from reporters.

It had been hoped, diplomatic sources said, that should

Washington gain support from the other members of the

veto-wielding five, the text would be distributed among the other 10

members of the council.

The French have threatened to use their veto against any single

resolution that would authorize military force against Baghdad for

refusing to live up to agreements made after the Gulf War. They

want the consequences for Iraq discussed in a second resolution, if

and when Saddam tries to prevent inspectors doing their job.

Russia and China, two other permanent members of the Security

Council, have also voiced opposition to any new resolution

authorizing the use of force.

The United States and Britain are the remaining two veto-casting

members of the council.

Speaking to the Public Broadcasting Service Monday evening,

Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that there were

differences of opinion among U.S. allies.

"The debate we're having with some of our Security Council

colleagues is whether those consequences (for Iraq) should be

indicated or spelled out in this first resolution, or whether there

should be a second resolution," he said.

The White House, however, has made it clear President George

W. Bush continues to seek a single U.N. resolution -- thereby

avoiding having to return to the Security Council at a later date to

seek a further mandate.

"What I won't accept is something that allows Saddam Hussein

to continue to lie, to cheat the world, Bush said Tuesday. "He's been

doing that for 11 years.

"I'm not going to accept something that is weak. It's not worth it.

The United Nations has to show its backbone. ... I'm not going to

accept the status quo."

Officials have said that the United States will propose a

resolution that would authorize military force if Iraq should again

interfere with weapons inspections or delay disarmament.

In Congress, Bush is also seeking a resolution authorizing

military force. Although the White House argues that U.S. law does

not compel Bush to seek such a document, having one would send

a powerful message of U.S. unity and that Washington is serious in

challenging the Iraqi dictator.

"We'll be speaking with one voice here in the country, and that is

going to be important for the United Nations to hear that voice and it

will be important for the world to hear that voice..." Bush said.

On Monday State Department Undersecretary for Political Affairs

Marc Grossman returned to Washington from Paris and Moscow

after lobbying for the single resolution scenario in his talks in both

capitals.

(Bill Reilly contributed to this story from the United Nations)

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