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[casi] AP: ElBaradei Calls for U.N. to Compromise with no ultimatum for war


ElBaradei Calls for U.N. to Compromise

By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent

VIENNA, Austria - The chief U.N. nuclear inspector urged the Security
Council on Thursday to compromise on proposed disarmament conditions for
Iraq (news - web sites), with staggered deadlines and no ultimatum for

"I think there's a keen desire globally to do everything before
resorting to war," Mohamed ElBaradei said in an Associated Press
interview at his agency's headquarters along the Danube River in Vienna.
He offered to return to Baghdad himself to help see a timetable of tasks
carried out.

ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency,
also dismissed the U.S. contention that Iraq intends to use imported
aluminum tubes to eventually help make nuclear bombs.

ElBaradei reported to the Security Council last Friday that his
investigation concluded the tubes were unrelated to nuclear work.
Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) has since said "more
information from a European country" suggested they were, indeed, meant
for that purpose.

"We have got this information," ElBaradei said, "and it doesn't change
our assessment."

The IAEA chief spoke as divisions deepened at the United Nations (news -
web sites) in New York over the next steps in the crisis.

In the latest version of a British resolution, London proposes listing
six disarmament requirements Baghdad would have to meet or face "serious
consequences." France, which opposes setting ultimatums and has veto
power in the council, flatly rejected the plan.

ElBaradei, who with chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix has been at
the center of the disarmament effort in Iraq, said he supports the idea
of setting "tasks" for the Baghdad government.

"We haven't really told them specifically what they need to do," he said
of the Iraqis.

He approved of some requirements on the British list, such as its call
for interviews abroad of Iraqi scientists and a commitment to
destruction of all al-Samoud 2 missiles, recently declared illegal by
U.N. inspectors.

But he questioned Britain's demand for a televised statement by Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) that banned weapons are
hidden in Iraq.

"We have no clear evidence he has things he is hiding for him to admit,"
ElBaradei said.

ElBaradei, an international lawyer from Egypt, said he regretted the
schisms in the Security Council.

"You need the U.N. for (fighting) terrorism, for the Middle East," he
told the AP. "The fact the Security Council is being split is very

He called on the Security Council to fashion a compromise resolution
with disarmament benchmarks, with deadline dates assigned to certain

"You need to give them (Iraq) adequate time, and the time obviously is
linked to the task you're asking them to do," ElBaradei said.

Then, he said, he would go to Baghdad if necessary.

"If as part of the implementation of this benchmark we are asked to go
to Iraq, I obviously would not see any reason not to go," he said.

But missed deadlines must not automatically lead to war, he said: "It's
a deadline to evaluate, to take stock, not a deadline to automatically
say I'm going to war."

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