Inspectors say Iraq hasn’t accepted disarmament

By Gus Bode

U.N. says inspectors need more time

Reporting back to the United Nations, top weapons inspector Hans Blix said Iraq has not truly accepted the U.N. resolution demanding that it disarm.

“Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it,” Blix told the U.N. Security Council Monday, according to a CNN transcript of the meeting.


Following 60 days of weapons inspections, Blix’s 16-page report again concluded that they have still not found a smoking gun in the region, but he did pose questions that he says remain unanswered. In addition, he dismissed Iraq’s 12,000-page arms declaration as little more than a reprint.

“Regrettably the 12,000-page declaration, most of which is a reprint of earlier documents, does not seem to contain any new evidence that will eliminate the questions or reduce their number,” Blix said.

Blix said inspectors have conducted about 300 inspections to more than 230 different sites. He said his inspections staff is growing, including 100 inspectors, 60 air operations staff, security personnel, communication, translation and interpretation staff and medical support. While Blix did not specifically ask the U. N. Security Council for more time, he did speak of a training course in session in Vienna, Italy, saying at the end of that course, 350 qualified experts will be available to draw inspections.

Blix’s counterpart Mohamed ElBaradei said there was no evidence so far that Iraq was reviving its nuclear program, but asked for a few more months to complete the search.

Still Secretary of State Colin Powell said Saddam Hussein has “not much more time” to comply if he wants to avoid war, according to Chicago Tribune reports.

While Washington warns that time is quickly running out for Iraq, the U.S. administration’s most loyal ally Great Britain is wavering in support.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the inspectors should have the time they need to do their job.


U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, agrees.

“The weapons inspectors have indicated that they need more time to complete their work, and I believe this is an appropriate next step in this process,” he said.

But even Powell, who is commonly cast as the administration’s most dovish advocate for peace, pronounced himself fed up with Hussein’s defiance of U.N. demands and with key European allies for wanting to give the dictator more time.

“Inspection will not work,” Powell said.

But threats aren’t only coming from the United States.

In Iraq, a newspaper owned by Saddam Hussein’s elder son said that American and British troops would return in “body bags” should they invade Iraq.

Despite rhetoric from both sides, Costello advocates for peace.

“Every effort should be made to resolve this situation by peaceful means, and I hope President Bush will continue to work with our allies abroad on a united approach,” said Costello. “At the same time, it is necessary for the Iraqi government to cooperate fully with the inspectors to verify compliance with U.N. resolutions.”

The 15-member Security Council will reconvene to discuss the inspectors’ reports and begin debate on Iraq Wednesday, a day after Bush delivers the State of the Union address.

Reporter Kristina Herrndobler can be reached at [email protected]