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http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=1881489 Iraq Accuses U.S. of Blackmailing U.N. Tue December 10, 2002 09:20 AM ET By Nadim Ladki BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq accused Washington on Tuesday of strong-arming the United Nations into handing over an unedited copy of Baghdad's arms dossier, assailing the action as part of a U.S. bid to wage war. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry blasted Washington's lobbying of U.N. Security Council members for control over distribution of the 12,000-page dossier as "an unprecedented blackmail operation in the history of the United Nations." "This American behavior aims at manipulating United Nations documents to find covers for aggression against Iraq," said a statement, as U.N. arms experts hunting for banned weapons began their biggest search of a nearly two-week-old mission. While five teams of inspectors sped out of their Baghdad headquarters, chased by a motorcade of journalists, the United Nations came under fire also for giving Washington control over distribution of the arms dossier. The dossier, which is supposed to give a full accounting of Iraq's past and present weapons programs, was ordered by the Security Council as part of a tough new resolution demanding Iraq disarm or face the possibility of war. President Bush has vowed to lead an international coalition to disarm Iraq by force if necessary, while Baghdad insists it has none of the nuclear, biological or chemical weapons Washington alleges it has. EARLY AND UNCUT COPY Diplomats and U.S. officials said Monday that after an intense lobbying campaign, the United States received an early and uncut copy of the Iraqi weapons declaration and whisked it to Washington for analysis. The United States was then put in charge of making duplicates for its four fellow permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Britain, China, France and Russia -- on grounds that Washington had the best photocopying capabilities. The 10 non-permanent members will see a purged version of the document once the arms inspectors have gone through the report and removed sensitive material. Colombian Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, the Security Council president for December, said he made the decision after coming under pressure from the United States. He said he called Security Council members and "we did it." The decision upset several of the non-permanent members of the 15-member Security Council, including the Syrians, as it overrode what the body had decided Friday. "It's in contradiction to...every kind of logic in the Security Council," Syrian U.N. Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe told the BBC Monday. The Security Council had previously agreed to leave the report with U.N. inspectors until it was screened for material that might aid others in making weapons. All five permanent members are nuclear powers. Diplomats said the dossier appeared to contain the names of foreign arms suppliers -- something that could prove embarrassing for the countries involved, including Security Council members. U.S. CONCLUSIONS WEEKS AWAY Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he expected U.S. experts to take weeks to draw conclusions about the dossier which Iraq issued at the weekend in hopes of avoiding war. "The thing to do is to not prejudge it, be patient and expect that it will take days and weeks probably to go over, and come to some judgments about it," Rumsfeld told reporters before his arrival Tuesday in the Eritrean capital Asmara. U.S. experts are expected to search for discrepancies between Iraq's disclosures and U.S. intelligence data. A global Reuters survey of 18 defense experts, released on Tuesday, showed that 10 believed war was still likely or very likely and six said chances were 50-50 that U.S. troops would go into Iraq, probably in January or February. In London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said it would be "naive" to think that President Saddam Hussein was likely to comply with the U.N. demands. But official Iraq newspapers accused the United States and Britain of planning to attack Iraq despite Baghdad's handover of a "complete and accurate" dossier. Tuesday's inspections covered the largest number of sites inspected on the same day. They included the Tuweitha nuclear site, 12 miles south of Baghdad. It was their fourth inspection of the facility in one week. _________________________________________________________ Enjoy your secure on-line shopping experience with Shop@maktoob Mall. http://www.maktoob.com/ _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk