- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2003

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 24 (UPI) — Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Friday he would continue over the weekend to prepare next week's Security Council report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Hua Jiang, a U.N. spokeswoman, told reporters that Blix — the executive chairman of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission — said he expected to be working right through the weekend on the report to be delivered to the 15-member council Monday morning.

"That's right," Ewen Buchanan, UNMOVIC spokesman, told United Press International. "We are here tonight; we'll be here right through Saturday and Sunday. We expect to sit down Sunday and go through it all, deciding what to leave in or throw out."

The report is to be delivered shortly after 10:30 a.m. EST Monday.

"It's just a gut feeling, but I expect it to be around 10 or 12 pages," Buchanan told UPI, adding that the speech itself would be the report mandated by the Security Council's Nov. 8 Resolution 1441, authorizing the return of inspectors to Iraq after a four-year hiatus.

Blix was to be followed by Executive Director Mohammed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who is to deliver the report. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to join the council to hear the two reports, but Hua said Annan does not plan to speak publicly at the council session.

Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere of France, this month's rotating president of the Security Council, said that after the two delivered their reports in a public session of the council they would then move across a carpeted corridor to sit in the consultation room to discuss the reports.

Thursday, after a meeting with his college of commissioners, Blix said he had a "mixed bag" of information to report, some positive and some negative.

Buchanan told UPI there would be no surprises.

"Blix is going to speak for himself," said U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte. "We're, of course, eagerly awaiting."

The ambassador of Chile, Gabriel Valdes, said, "We believe that the inspectors need more time, but we believe at the same time that pressure needs to be maintained (on Iraq). We are looking for some kind of formula that allows us to bring closer together the divided positions in the council. Chile wants to have the council to have the same kind of unity it had on (passing Resolution) 1441."

The Bulgarian ambassador, Stefan Tafrov, said, "We want to hear from the inspectors, so it's too early for us to make a definitive decision" about following the U.S. push for military action.

Britain and the United States have been preparing for action against the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The other three permanent, veto-wielding members of the council — China, France and Russia — have indicated an unwillingness to take up arms just yet. France and Germany said so earlier in the week.

On Friday, Ambassador Gunter Pleuger of Germany, next month's president of the council, evoked laughter in face of the announcement when he told reporters, "We will analyze the report. See what's in it. It's going to take quite a lot of political analysis."

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