- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2003

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 21 (UPI) — A spokesman for U.N. weapons inspectors said Tuesday the four latest 122 mm rocket warheads uncovered in Iraq have been examined, X-rayed, tagged and listed alongside the dozen found last week by U.N. inspectors.

Hiro Ueki, jointly speaking for the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Baghdad, said a multidisciplinary team traveled to Al Taji, about 19 miles north of Baghdad, where the rockets were located.

He said other UNMOVIC teams visited present and past rocket motor propellant and test sites north and south of the capital, biological teams visited various sites and a Mosul-based multidisciplinary team went to a lime production facility. Ueki said the IAEA "conducted a motorized radiation survey, checked sealed equipment, and inspected buildings" at the Tuwaitha site 15 miles east of Baghdad.

In other words, another day of what has become almost routine inspections.

But that may just be a reflection of the results of a reported U.S. complaint that too much was revealed by the spokesman before it reached the U.N. Security Council, particularly last week when finding a dozen warheads was announced in a news release.

"Those sorts of issues should go to the council before it goes to the news media," an official at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations told United Press International Tuesday.

It made for a quiet day at U.N. headquarters on the heels of Monday's fast pace with 13 foreign ministers addressing the Security Council and meeting with the media. Most of them, said inspectors, needed more time, as opposed to the joint U.S.-British stance.

It was reflected Tuesday by the White House promise to "keep the pressure on" Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"The world came together, including the French, to say he must disarm," said U.S. President George W. Bush of the Monday U.N. meeting on countering terrorism. "He's not disarming. As a matter of fact, it appears to be a rerun of a bad movie. He is delaying. He is deceiving. He is asking for time. He's playing hide-and-seek with inspectors."

"One thing is for certain — he's not disarming," said Bush. "This is not about inspectors; this is about a disarmed Iraq. He has weapons of mass destruction — the world's deadliest weapons — which pose a direct threat to the United States, our citizens and our friends and allies. He has been told to disarm for 11 long years. He's not disarming.

"This business about, you know, more time — you know, how much time do we need to see clearly that he's not disarming?" the president asked.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin Monday said his country opposes military force to rid Iraq of suspected weapons of mass destruction. U.N. inspections, he said, were successful in curbing Iraqi behavior and he thought, as did so many more of the ministers, that more time was needed by the inspectors.

"If war is the only way to resolve this problem, we are going down a dead end," he said. "Already we know for a fact that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs are being largely blocked, even frozen."

"We must do everything possible to strengthen the process," said de Villepin. "We believe that today nothing justifies envisaging military action."

Bush's comments were seen as meant to counter the French foreign minister's remarks, particularly since Paris is one of the five permanent, veto-wielding, members of the council.

However, the White House said De Villepin's statement, when looked at closely, indicated France believed Iraq possesses illicit weapons.


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