UN chief tells US to back off Iraq missiongreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
December 07, 2002
From James Bone in New York and Roland Watson in Washington
TENSIONS between America and UN weapons inspectors rose sharply yesterday on the eve of Iraq’s promised declaration that it is free of weapons of mass destruction.
Hans Blix, the chief inspector, countered growing pressure for more aggressive investigations including American specialists by insisting: “We are in nobody’s pocket.”
The White House called openly for the UN inspectors to spirit Iraqi scientists out of the country and offer them asylum — as allowed by the UN mandate if the scientists and their families are in danger — in exchange for secrets. But Dr Blix retorted: “We are not going to abduct anybody and we are not serving as a defection agency.”
At the same time the Security Council decided that the Iraqi declaration, which will be delivered in Baghdad a day ahead of deadline tomorrow, will not be immediately distributed to America or any other member state.
UN experts would first scrutinise the document — expected to run to several thousand pages — to check that sensitive information is not made public. That could take weeks.
US Administration hawks want Dr Blix and his inspectors to ask for lists of Iraqi scientists, demand interviews with them, and if necessary offer them and their families asylum. Washington is reportedly offering to set up a type of “witness protection programme” for defectors.
-- Anonymous, December 07, 2002