Dossier Heading for Expert Analysis; Inspectors to Check Hussein's Claims against Evidence

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), December 9, 2002 | Go to article overview

Dossier Heading for Expert Analysis; Inspectors to Check Hussein's Claims against Evidence


Byline: ANDREW WOODCOCK

COPIES of a massive Iraqi document detailing the country's chemical, biological and nuclear activities were yesterday flown out of Baghdad for analysis by experts at the United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency.

The 11,807-page document was handed over on Saturday by Iraqi officials, who said it showed that President Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction.

Both the UK and US said they would take time to decide whether Saddam has complied with UN Security Council resolution 1441, which requires an ''accurate, full, and complete declaration'' of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes, as well as any non-military nuclear, chemical or biological activities.

But both indicated scepticism that it would reveal the truth about his arsenals.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told BBC1's Breakfast with Frost: ''Saddam Hussein has been consistent about one thing only and that is his telling of lies.

''It remains to be seen whether this 11,000-page disclosure is consistent with his past behaviour or whether he at long last has got the message that the international community's patience is about to run out.''

The Iraqis' first obligation was to account for munitions and components for weapons of mass destruction recorded by Unscom inspectors before their withdrawal in 1998, said Mr Straw, adding: ''I query whether they have done in this document.''

But one of Saddam's top advisers, Lt Gen Amer Al-Saadi, insisted Iraq had already given ''first-class evidence'' of the state of its weapons programmes, which he said was ignored for political reasons.

Any evidence Western governments had of inaccuracies or omissions in the new dossier should be handed over to the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic) and the IAEA, he said.

''If they have anything to the contrary, let them forthwith come up with it,'' he said. ''Give it to the IAEA, give it to Unmovic. …

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Dossier Heading for Expert Analysis; Inspectors to Check Hussein's Claims against Evidence
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