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---------- Forwarded message ---------- Iraq again says 8 presidential sites open to inspection 10.07 a.m. ET (1504 GMT) February 11, 1998 By Mariam Sami, Associated Press CAIRO, Egypt (AP) Baghdad is prepared to open eight vast presidential complexes to inspection for a limited time, Iraq's foreign minister said today reviving a proposal similar to one rejected earlier by the United States. Inspectors appointed by the U.N. secretary-general would have two months to "search the sites, inch by inch, inside the buildings, the gardens ... everywhere,'' Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf said. Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon outlined a similar proposal earlier this month. The United States rejected that proposal. Britain quickly rejected the latest Iraqi offer today. "The suggestions they are putting do not fulfill the U.N. Security Council resolutions,'' a Foreign Office spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Washington objects to a time constraint and insists the team should be comprised of the same inspectors working since 1991 to dismantle Iraqi programs to build weapons of mass destruction rather than handpicked representatives of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The United States threatens to use military force if Iraq refuses to comply. To bolster that threat, the United States has increased its military presence in the Persian Gulf region. Some 25,000 troops are deployed there now, said Navy Capt. Michael Doubleday, a Pentagon spokesman. Al-Sahhaf's visit to Cairo to meet with President Hosni Mubarak was part of a concerted effort by Saddam Hussein's envoys to persuade Arab neighbors to press for a compromise over the inspections. Saddam's envoys were seeking and mostly getting Arab backing to head off any attack by the United States. "When we say eight we are actually saying all the sites in Iraq,'' al-Sahhaf said. He said each site contained several buildings. He did not clarify his statement. U.N. officials list up to 63 sites where Iraq has barred arms inspectors including 40-plus palaces. The inspectors must certify that Iraq has eliminated its weapons of mass destruction before trade sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait can be lifted. The eight sites referred to in the earlier Iraqi proposal represented only a small fraction of Saddam's palaces. Only Saddam's inner circle knows how many exist. Dozens have been built for the president and his family, many after the Persian Gulf War. Speaking after talks with Mubarak, al-Sahhaf said much of the latest proposal, brokered by France and Russia, was based on Iraqi ideas. Iraq is "doing everything to make sure political and diplomatic efforts succeed in averting a military clash,'' al-Sahhaf said. Iraq's ruling party newspaper, Al-Thawra, predicted today that Washington would ignore whatever backing is given Iraq. "Washington has tried to mislead the world community that it has run out of diplomatic options and that there is no good in discussing any initiative introduced to boost diplomatic efforts,'' the paper said. "Washington was determined from the beginning to use force. It triggered the crisis for this purpose,'' it said. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html