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Good news ?

Just saw this on the bbc news pages .....

Sunday, February 22, 1998 Published at 19:41 GMT

***Annan reaches deal on Iraq weapons inspections***

Saddam Hussein greets Kofi Annan at the Republican Palace in Baghdad
Iraq and the United Nations are reported to have overcome the last problem
blocking an agreement aimed at resolving the crisis over weapons
"All the major issues have been resolved," said one diplomat, who requested
anonymity. "The time-limit is resolved as I understand it."

Secretary General takes the air in Baghdad before Sunday's talks begin
 Diplomats had earlier said the stumbling block to a deal concerned the
duration of inspections of the presidential sites.
It was understood that Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, in private
talks with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan since Friday, had refused to drop
an insistence that inspections should be completed within a 60-day timeframe
and take place on a one-off basis at each site.
But the UN Security Council has unanimously rejected such a stand and
insists that no time limits can be set for the inspectors to complete their
work. UN resolutions provide for full and unconditional access to all sites.

Kofi Annan and members of UN team
 An Iraqi source confirmed that a deal had been reached. The source, who
asked not to be named, said the agreement would be signed at the Foreign
Ministry on Monday morning. As he spoke, employees at the foreign ministry
were preparing a large room for the signing ceremony.
Earlier on Sunday, Mr Annan had three hours of talks with the Iraqi leader,
Saddam Hussein. A UN spokesman, Fred Eckhard, later said that "substantial
progress had been made".
Mr Eckhard said that the two sides were closer than before to a "successful
termination of these issues".

 Asked about US approval for any deal, he added: "The Secretary General is
authorised to enter into an agreement with any member state, which he has
done in this case.
"He has carefully tried to build Security Council support for the parameters
within which he feels he has stayed in his talks with the Iraqi authorities
these last couple of days.
"He expects that what emerges from these talks he will be able to sell to
the Security Council."

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