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Kofi Annan's agreement on weapons inspection

I've just been hearing over the radio confirmation that Iraq and the 
UN have signed the agreement we heard rumors of yesterday!
Here's the latest from the UN website followed by a BBC report. 
Supposedly the deal has no time-limit on inspections - lets hope and 
pray that Washington is happy.

UN Secretary-General and Iraqi leaders reach agreement on diplomatic
solution to weapons inspections standoff.

     United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Iraq's leadership
     on Sunday concluded an agreement aimed at resolving the standoff
     over weapons inspections.

     "We have a deal," said United Nations Spokesman Fred Eckhard, who
     is travelling with the Secretary-General in Baghdad. In addition
     to holding a series of talks with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister
     Tariq Aziz, the Secretary-General met for three hours on Sunday
     with President Saddam Hussein at the Republican Palace in

     According to Mr. Eckhard, the agreement fulfils the principal
     objectives the Secretary-General had from the outset: ensuring
     respect for the Security Council resolutions governing the
     inspection regime in Iraq, and preserving the integrity of the
     United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) charged with
     overseeing the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

     The Secretary-General is scheduled to fly to Paris on Monday
     after signing the agreement. From there, he will proceed to New
     York to brief the Security Council. Mr. Eckhard said that the
     Secretary-General expects that the agreement will be acceptable
     to all members of the Council.

     While in Baghdad, the Secretary-General was in telephone contact
     with a number of world leaders, including representatives of all
     five permanent members of the Security Council. On Saturday, Mr.
     Annan met with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister and Special
     Envoy, Viktor Posuvalyuk, as well as the country's Ambassador,
     Nikolai Kartouzov. He also met members of the diplomatic corps
     accredited in Baghdad.

     The meetings on weapons inspections were not linked to talks
     scheduled for Monday on the "oil-for-food" programme for Iraq. On
     Friday, the Security Council expanded the oil-for-food programme,
     authorizing Iraq to sell $5.2 billion worth of oil every six
     months -- up from $2 billion under previous arrangements. The
     expansion will take effect only after the Secretary-General has
     approved a distribution plan submitted by Iraq.
>From BBC {sotty the layout is a mess]:

Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, has
said the agreement he signed with Iraqi Deputy Prime
Minister, Tariq Aziz, removes a major obstacle to
weapons inspectors being allowed to do their job.

Mr Annan said he would tell the Security Council that
the terms of the agreement were acceptable when he
arrived back in New York on Tuesday. 

Mr Annan said he had
received undertakings from
Iraq that the UN weapons
inspectors would be given
access to carry out
 inspections and he said they
would carry out their work
with sensitivity. 

His three-hour meeting with
President Saddam Hussein,
aimed at averting a conflict,
had been in good faith, and
were "frank and constructive." 

Details of the agreement have not yet been given to the
Security Council members. 

Mr Annan said he was confident and
hopeful that the agreement would take
the parties beyond the current crisis
and that there would be no need to
come back to the matter. 

At a joint press conference,
Tariq Aziz said the military
build-up in the Gulf had not
scared the leadership or the
people of Iraq. 

It had been diplomacy and
the goodwill brought by Mr
Annan which had helped the
agreement, not the
'sabre-rattling' by the
Americans and British. 

The British Foreign
Secretary, Robin Cook, said the deal would not have been
possible if there had not been the threat of force. 

"Our bottom line has always been that he must get an
agreement that enables UN inspectors to get back to work
and stop Saddam Hussein manufacturing chemical and
biological weapons. 

"If there had been no pressure on Saddam, there would
have been no deal from Saddam."

Mr Annan said there were "no time limits or deadlines"
in the agreement, but it was important to do the work
"in a reasonable period." 

Albright questions 

The United States had neither accepted nor rejected the
agreement, Mr Annan said, but he indicated that
Washington would have no problems with it. 

He had consulted all five permanent members of the
Security Council, including the American Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright. 

"She did have some questions, which I addressed, and I
think we will be talking further when I get back to New
York," he said. 

Mr Annan is due to leave Baghdad at 2pm local time,
(1100 GMT) to head back to New York. 

The deal must be endorsed
by the US and the other 14
members of the Security

Washington said it reserved
the right to refuse any
agreement it believed would
undermine the authority of
the Special Commission
weapons inspectors in Iraq. 
AOL instant messenger handle: TheLongdog
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