- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 5, 2003

From combined dispatches
BAGHDAD U.N. weapons inspectors began setting up a new office yesterday in the northern city of Mosul to broaden the range of their searches while Iraq's government declared that U.S. funding and military training for Iraqi opposition groups violate international law and Iraqi sovereignty.
A team of experts in various weapons drove from Baghdad to Mosul, 250 miles north in a convoy of white U.N. vans. The inspectors have visited sites near the city before, but they've then had to return samples and equipment to Baghdad.
The new base "will serve as a convenient location to conduct inspections, particularly in the north," U.N. spokesman Hiro Ueki said before the team left for Mosul early yesterday.
The eight U.N. vans, followed by an ambulance, arrived in Mosul in midafternoon, and the arms inspectors raised the blue U.N. flag over the Nineveh Palace Hotel, their temporary headquarters until their new base is completed.
Iraq's charges about the United States' interfering in Iraqi affairs came in a letter from Foreign Minister Naji Sabri to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the official daily Al-Iraq reported. It said the letter was given to Mr. Annan by the Iraqi U.N. mission but did not say when.
Mr. Sabri said the U.S. financing and military training of government opponents, whom he called "mercenaries," violated international guarantees on the sovereignty of nations and amounted to aggression against an independent state.
The United States has funneled millions of dollars to Iraqi opposition groups in recent years and helped organize a London conference by the main groups in mid-December. The opposition groups organized a steering committee to plan an Iraqi government, should President Saddam Hussein be toppled. They are expected to meet again in northern Iraq, a Kurdish-ruled territory out of Saddam's control, Jan. 15.
In October, the Pentagon announced it would give military training to thousands of volunteers opposed to the Iraqi regime under an order President Bush signed. The training is expected to occur in Hungary.
The U.N. inspectors visited three sites in and around Baghdad yesterday and a fourth, the College of Agriculture, in the southern city of Basra, Iraqi officials said.
The three sites they visited around the capital were the Al-Abour Co., a maintenance arm of Iraq's Military Industrialization Corp.; the Al-Mamoun Plant, which makes missile propellants and was inspected Friday; and the Al-Khalis alcohol factory, which had not been checked before.
U.N. inspectors must report their findings to the Security Council by Jan. 27. Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix will make an interim report to the Security Council on Thursday.
Warplanes taking part in U.S.-British patrols over southern Iraq dropped nearly a quarter of a million leaflets over southern Iraq yesterday, urging Iraqis to listen to radio broadcasts slamming Saddam, the U.S. military said. It was the 13th such airdrop in three months.
Iraq's armed forces said U.S. and British warplanes hit civilian targets Friday in a no-fly zone in southern Iraq in the third such raid in as many days, but the U.S. Central Command said it had no information on such a strike. The U.S. military has said allied aircraft hit military targets in Iraq on Wednesday and Thursday.
Seeking to head off a war in Iraq, Turkey's prime minister met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad yesterday at the start of a tour of Middle East countries.
Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said he and Mr. Assad discussed steps to try to avoid war with their neighbor, but he gave no details.

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