WEAPONS INSPECTIONS: Iraq Claims US `Blackmail' to Get Uncut Dossier Shows Lust for War ; American Lobbying of UN Angers Iraq and Syria, While First Look at Declaration Reveals Little New Information

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IRAQ ACCUSED America yesterday of "unprecedented blackmail" after Washington forced the UN weapons inspectors to hand over an unedited copy of the 12,000 page arms dossier provided by Baghdad. At the same time, UN sources said the report appeared to contain little new information.

In a statement, the Iraqi foreign ministry said America's actions were proof of the Bush administration's wish to launch a military strike. "This American behaviour aims at manipulating United Nations documents to find covers for aggression against Iraq," it said.

The comments came after Washington put intense pressure on the UN to grant it an uncut copy of the Iraqi report, which it passed on to the CIA and other intelligence experts. It also provided copies of the report to the four other permanent members of the UN Security Council. The 10 non-permanent members will receive an edited copy.

White House officials admitted yesterday that they had been aggressive in their lobbying of the UN to ensure they received a copy of the report, rather than having to wait until the weapons inspectors had completed their examination of the documents.

Colombian Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso, the Security Council president for December, said he made the decision after coming under pressure from Washington.

The decision also upset several of the non-permanent members of the 15-member council, in particular Syria - the only Arab member. "It's in contradiction to every kind of logic in the Security Council," said Syria's UN ambassador, Mikhail Wehbe. …