- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2003

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 28 (UPI) — The United States Tuesday eagerly awaited official reactions to the Iraq weapons inspectors reports to the U.N. Security Council earlier this week to be delivered at the next consultations.

At the same time, several ambassadors on the panel of 15 were still awaiting instructions from their capitals for Wednesday's consultations on Iraq.

Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix and International Atomic Energy Agency Executive Director Mohammed ElBaradei were due to return to the small second floor consultation room at U.N. headquarters in New York with answers to questions posed to them Monday, after they formally delivered their 60-day reports on the resumption of inspections in Iraq.

"We're eager to hear from other countries," said a U.S. official who did not want to be identified. He characterized the next session as more of a briefing and did not expect any formal statements or draft resolutions to emerge from behind the closed-door session. He also made a point of underscoring that Washington was not seeking a second resolution authorizing the British-U.S.-led "coalition of the willing" to attack Iraq.

"We feel like everything we have is in one resolution and I think we are very focused on (Wednesday) hearing other Security Council members who were supposed to go back and get instructions from their capitals," the official said.

He said U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte would be making a statement, "but mostly asking questions.

"We asked preliminary questions on Monday," the official added. "Let's just let Blix come back with more detailed answers to those questions and we have the opportunity to ask more.

"We're highly anticipating answers to the questions that were asked on Monday," the official said, adding that both Blix and ElBaradei "said they would provide more detailed answers to those items we were looking for answers to."

The ambassador for Angola, Ismael Gaspar Martins, told reporters outside the Security Council Tuesday, "Our feeling is that Iraq continues, needs, to be more proactive."

He added that the council "must make sure we don't have these weapons in Iraq which pose a threat and that the council should act together."

Asked if the inspectors should be given more time, Gaspar Martins replied, "Yes. Time is an investment right now for peace. If they are given more time, if they are able to bring back to the council more decisive information we are ready to act."

But he wouldn't speculate on what that action would take.

"We will meet tomorrow and we will see what we all together agree but we must agree on something together," he said.

Syrian Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe also said, "We should give enough time to the inspectors."

When asked how much time, he replied, "As long as they need to realize that there is no WMD (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq."

Usually at odds with Washington, the Damascus envoy agreed that there was no need for a second resolution from the council on Iraq, citing the existing measures as "enough to give them (inspectors) a mandate and the full capacity" to carry out their work.

Ambassador Gabriel Valdes of Chile said, "There is a certain agreement that the inspectors should continue" among council members he has spoken with.

"The point is how far, how long," he said. "We will see what happens tomorrow and what's the best way to decide, which is a sort of a timetable that should be given to Blix. But, I am not sure of the arguments yet. We are preparing a statement in Santiago."

In Baghdad, a spokesman for Blix's team of inspectors, the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, and the IAEA announced cancellation of a requested private interview with "an Iraqi individual, who showed up yesterday with an Iraqi official."

Said Hiro Ueki, "A private interview did not take place, as he insisted on having a witness with him." The spokesman said that UNMOVIC requested another private interview Monday, "and it did not take place today either, as the individual concerned insisted on having a witness with him."

UNMOVIC has so far requested private interviews with 16 Iraqi individuals, but none has taken place, the spokesman said.

"UNMOVIC will further seek private interviews, as allowed in (Nov. 8) Security Council Resolution 1441," Ueki said.

The commission has 100 inspectors in Iraq, while the IAEA has 11, he said. The remaining 140 U.N. personnel in the country were support staff, including 50 aircrew and 31 local staff.

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