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[casi] Iraq Says It Has No Weapons of Mass Destruction


Iraq Says It Has No Weapons of Mass Destruction
Sat December 7, 2002 10:44 AM ET

By Haitham Haddadin

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq declared it had no weapons of mass destruction on
Saturday as it showed international journalists a massive dossier on its arms
programs due to be delivered to U.N. inspectors.

The dossier, which could spell the difference between war and peace, was shown
to reporters at the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate in central Baghdad.

It was contained in 11,807 pages, 352 pages of supplements and CD-Roms with a
total 529 megabytes of data, according to a sign at the Directorate headquarters.

The weapons declaration comes a month after a tough U.N. resolution gave
Baghdad a chance to disarm or face possible U.S.-led military action.

Hussam Mohammed Amin, head of the Directorate, told a news conference the
documents would be handed to U.N. inspectors in the next few hours.

"We declared that Iraq is empty of weapons of mass destruction. I reiterate
Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction," he said.

The declaration detailed "some activities that are dual-use" Amin said,
referring to technology which has both peaceful and military applications.

"If the U.S. has minimum levels of fairness and bravery it should accept the

President Bush said Washington would take some time to judge the declaration,
but repeated warnings it would disarm Iraq by force if necessary.

In his weekly radio address, Bush said the weapons declaration "must be
credible and accurate and complete, or the Iraqi dictator will have demonstrated
to the world that once again he has chosen not to change his behavior.

"Any act of delay or defiance will prove that Saddam Hussein has not adopted
the path of compliance, and he has rejected the path of peace."


The main glass door to the Directorate headquarters was shattered as around
100 foreign journalists surged into the building to see the declaration.

The U.N. resolution had given Baghdad a Sunday deadline to provide a full
account of any past and current programs involving biological, chemical or nuclear

The documents, seen by a Reuters journalist, were in about two dozen files on
a table next to golden CD-Roms. Some were entitled "Currently Accurate, Full and
Complete Declaration."

Most papers appeared to be in English with some in Arabic. Reporters were not
shown the contents.

As Iraqi authorities unveiled the declaration, local media reported Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein was due to deliver a message to Kuwait on Saturday

Saddam would "address an important letter to the Kuwaiti people" at 8 p.m. (12
p.m. EST), Iraqi television and the Iraqi News Agency INA said. There was no
indication what it might be about.

The United States alleges Baghdad has biological, chemical and nuclear weapons
programs in violation of U.N. agreements reached after the 1991 Gulf War when a
coalition led by Washington forced Iraq out of Kuwait.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Saddam should try to avert a second war
on Iraq by giving up and leaving the country.

"Everyone would prefer that he just leave tomorrow," he told Lebanese TV
station LBC according to an English transcript. "War is your last choice."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the United States' staunchest ally on Iraq,
said he remained skeptical Saddam was genuinely cooperating with U.N. weapons

"Let us hope that it's a true and frank account," Blair wrote in the
London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat on Saturday.

"You'll forgive me if, knowing all that I do about Saddam's past record, I
remain skeptical," he said.


The Iraqi declaration will be vetted by the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) in Vienna and the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission
(UNMOVIC) in New York.

U.N. Security Council members have decided to postpone its release for as much
as a week to allow experts to screen it for any military secrets that might help
outsiders develop their own doomsday weapons.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Baghdad had given no sign of what was in the

"The chemical and biological part will go to New York, the nuclear part will
come to us," he told Reuters in Frankfurt.

"We need some days to go through it and make some preliminary assessments.
We've also been asked by the security council to sanitize parts that are
proliferation sensitive."

Diplomats say it could take a week before the 15 Security Council members get
a copy.

If Baghdad is found to be in "material breach" of U.N. resolution 1441, it
could set the stage for a military attack on Iraq by the United States and its

U.S. officials have said the Bush administration is expected to declare Iraq
in "material breach" if Baghdad states it has no weapons of mass destruction.

But they said Washington would not cite the breach as an immediate cause for
war, letting U.N. inspections continue while Bush courts partners to help strike
Iraq if needed.

U.N. arms inspectors must report to the Security Council by January 26. They
can flag any Iraqi violations sooner.


Weapons experts returned to Iraq last month for the first time in four years.
They say Baghdad has cooperated with searches at around 20 suspect sites so far.

Earlier on Saturday U.N. arms experts resumed inspections after a two-day
break for a Muslim festival.

One team revisited Iraq's main nuclear research facility while a second
examined a new military industrial research center.

The UNMOVIC inspectors examined a compound housing the al-Quds (Jerusalem)
General Company in the town of al-Iskandariyah, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad.

The company is part of Iraq's state Military Industrialization Commission.
Officials say the facility focuses on research in mechanical and munition

"The inspectors toured the whole site...They asked (questions) and we answered
them thoroughly," said facility director Hamid al-Azzawi. "We were transparent in
our cooperation."

IAEA experts spent two hours at al-Tuweitha nuclear facility, 12 miles south
of the Iraqi capital. The visit followed an inspection on December 4.

Several tonnes of uranium have been under seal by the IAEA at Tuweitha since

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