- The Washington Times - Monday, January 20, 2003

BAGHDAD U.N. weapons officials said yesterday that Iraq has disclosed the discovery of four more empty chemical warheads and that there had been "some progress" in talks to win greater cooperation from Baghdad on inspections.
A dozen warheads were discovered by the officials last week.
Hans Blix, U.N. chief arms inspector, and Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the U.N.-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), were in Baghdad for the first of two days of talks whose outcome could determine whether the United States mounts an attack to disarm Iraq.
"I think we are making some progress. It was a constructive meeting," Mr. ElBaradei said, after more than two hours of talks.
Mr. Blix said the Iraqis told them that they had found four more empty chemical weapons warheads similar to those discovered Thursday at an ammunition dump south of Baghdad. He said this was a sign that Baghdad might be more forthcoming.
Mr. Blix also said the Iraqis offered three or four of 11 documents requested by the United Nations.
He did not say when or where the additional warheads were found. He and Mr. ElBaradei will meet again with Iraqi officials today before departing for Athens.
"We have to ask: Is this one find or are there weapons hidden all over the country?" Mr. Blix asked.
The White House termed as "troubling and serious" the discovery of the warheads Thursday because Baghdad had not reported the munitions in its 12,000-page declaration to the United Nations last month.
"Of course, they should have been properly declared, and, in fact, destroyed," Mr. Blix said in an interview with CNN. "The Iraqis claimed it was an oversight and they are looking for more of them. In fact, they said they found four more of them and they might find even further in the future."
As the chief inspectors met with the Iraqis, IAEA members were sifting through about 3,000 pages of documents seized from the home of Faleh Hassan, an Iraqi nuclear physicist educated at the University of Edinburgh.
"A lot of them concerned nuclear [activities] and some missiles," Mr. Blix was quoted as saying by the London Daily Telegraph. "They had not been declared. They should have been declared."
In Washington, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell underlined growing U.S. impatience with Iraq, warning that "I think time is running out" for Baghdad to come clean. "We can't keep this up forever," he told CNN's "Late Edition."
Mr. Powell said Iraq still has not accounted for stocks of biological and chemical warfare agents "that we know they had."
U.N. inspectors returned to Iraq in November to search for evidence of weapons of mass destruction that the United States insists Saddam is hiding. Yesterday, they visited an ammunition plant and a university south of Baghdad, a missile factory west of the capital, a chemical plant and another university campus close by.
The talks in Iraq are in preparation for a Jan. 27 progress report that the inspectors will present to the U.N. Security Council. Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei have left no doubt that Iraq must be more cooperative if it wants to avoid war.
The United States and Britain have sent tens of thousands of troops, as well as naval ships and combat aircraft, to the Persian Gulf in a buildup said aimed to pressure the Iraqis.
Allied jets yesterday struck eight unmanned Iraqi communications relay stations in the southern "no-fly zone," the U.S. Central Command said. It was the first attack since Friday in the southern zone, which was set up more than a decade ago to prevent Iraq's army from attacking restive Shi'ite Muslims.
"We do not think that war is inevitable," Mr. Blix told reporters yesterday. "We think that the inspection process that we are conducting is the peaceful alternative. It requires comprehensive inspections, and it requires a very active Iraqi cooperation."
European allies have urged the Bush administration to give inspectors more time and to avoid war.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said in Berlin that he would attend a U.N.Security Council foreign ministers meeting in New York to urge "Iraq's disarmament through the work of the inspectors."
French President Jacques Chirac also said that the United States should not attack without international support, and that Saddam should cooperate more actively with the inspectors.
Meanwhile, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived yesterday at the southern air base of Incirlik in Turkey before talks today with the country's military officials.
The United States is seeking permission to station ground troops in Turkey for a possible attack on Iraq. Polls show that 80 percent of the Turkish population opposes such a war.


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