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Yahoo AP article http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020302/ap_o n_re_mi_ea/iraq_britain_3 Washington Post AP article http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26755- 2002Mar2.html Iraq Invites Britain to Find Weapons Fri Mar 1,11:58 PM ET By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq has challenged Britain to prove it is developing weapons of mass destruction, saying it was ready to receive "right now" any British team in the country, an official spokesman was quoted as saying Friday. Iraq maintains it has dismantled its weapons of mass destruction, but it has refused to admit U.N. weapons inspectors back in the country since they left ahead of U.S.-British airstrikes in December 1998. U.N. certification that no such weapons or means of producing them were still in the country was required after the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites) in order for sanctions against Iraq were to be lifted. "Iraq is ready to receive right now any British team sent by (Prime Minister Tony) Blair and accompanied by the British media to show the world where and how is Iraq developing such weapons," the unidentified Iraqi spokesman was quoted as saying by the official al- Thawra newspaper. Britain's Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon, speaking to the British Broadcasting Corp. Friday, said: "They (Iraq) have consistently refused to allow U.N. weapons inspections and that must mean we are deeply suspicious about is what is going on. They are a concern that we have to address," Hoon said. "That is what we have to learn from the appalling events of Sept. 11, that we cannot afford to ignore issues that can provoke a threat to our own security," he added. Speculation has been growing that Iraq may become a target of a U.S. military action, after President Bush (news - web sites) called it part of an "axis of evil," warning Baghdad to let in the inspectors or face consequences. Iraq's latest comments appear to be a response to a Thursday statement from Blair that Iraq's accumulation of weapons of mass destruction poses a threat to the world. "The accumulation of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq poses a threat, a threat not just to the region but to the wider world, and I think George Bush was absolutely right to raise it," Blair said on Thursday. The Iraqi spokesman was quoted as saying that Blair's comments in a television interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. were "aggressive and misleading," and challenged him to present "true information to support such allegations against Iraq." Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri will meet with U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) next week in New York to have "a focused discussion on the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions, including the return of U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq," a U.N. spokesman said on Monday. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk