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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 inspections. "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." -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html