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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] (2002/08/17): "Iraq makes new UN inspection offer" Iraq has written to the United Nations, reportedly saying it wants more discussions before allowing weapons inspectors back into the country. The letter - from Iraqi Regime Foreign Minister Naji Sabri to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan - reportedly says Iraq wants to establish ground rules before agreeing to the return of the inspectors, who left four years ago. Annan wants an invitation for the inspectors But a partial and preliminary translation of the Arabic document suggests it falls short of UN demands for an unconditional invitation to inspectors to return. The correspondence comes amid continuing speculation that the United States is preparing military action to topple Saddam Hussein. The US has been demanding that Baghdad agree to new inspections without further discussion to demonstrate that it is not developing weapons of mass destruction. 'Old wine in new bottles' The partial translation, circulated by US diplomats, suggests Mr Sabri's proposal is similar to previous Iraqi overtures. In the letter, Baghdad reportedly says it wants more technical discussions on the aims and scope of any future UN weapons inspection mission before agreeing to its return. UN officials say the latest letter is 10 pages long, compared to the one-page letter Mr Sabri sent the UN secretary general earlier this month. But the BBC's UN correspondent, Greg Barrow, says the new request is also likely to be met with a polite rejection from Mr Annan. US reaction was also expected to be negative. An anonymous US official told Reuters new agency that the proposal was "old wine in new bottles". 'No discussion' Iraqi diplomats at the UN say the letter repeats Baghdad's earlier invitation to UN experts to discuss arrangements for the resumption of UN weapons inspections. Iraq's ambassador to the UN, Mohammed Aldouri, told Reuters news agency: "We are at the stage of discussion, not implementation." Iraq's earlier offer was rejected by the UN, with Mr Annan insisting in a letter to Mr Sabri that the UN wanted nothing short of a formal invitation for the return of weapons inspectors. Mr Annan's letter outlined steps Iraq should take to comply with a 1999 Security Council resolution calling for the return of inspectors. Iraqi Regime Foreign Minister Naji Sabri wrote the letter UN deputy spokeswoman Hua Jiang reminded Baghdad of Mr Annan's conditions. "You will recall that on 5 August, the secretary general had written to Regime Foreign Minister Sabri and had indicated that he looked forward to receiving from the Iraqi government a formal invitation to the UN weapons inspectors." She said no immediate comment should be expected from Mr Annan, who is on holiday. The US 'ploy' Mr Aldouri said part of his country's distaste for an unconditional visit from inspectors was due to its mistrust of the US. "The United States doesn't wish really to have inspectors back because they would like to realize their dream to invade Iraq," he was quoted by Reuters. "If there are inspectors back, I think they would ask them to create a problem so to give justification for Americans to say, 'Look what Iraq is doing' and 'We have a free hand to attack Iraq'," he said. 'Latest intelligence' US President George W Bush - who faces European resistance to a possible attack on Iraq, as well as criticism from within his own party - said on Friday that Washington is listening to its allies. "We'll continue to consult," he said. "People should be allowed to express their opinion. "But America needs to know I'll be making up my mind based on the latest intelligence and how best to protect our own country plus our friends and allies." UN inspectors have not been allowed back into Iraq since leaving in 1998 - seven years after they went into the country. --------------------------------- Get a bigger mailbox -- choose a size that fits your needs. http://uk.docs.yahoo.com/mail_storage.html _______________________________________________ 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