Baghdad prevents inspections at Baath party headquarters
Iraq, Politics, 12/11/1998
In the first incident since the resumption of the weapons inspection operations, UNSCOM described Iraq's rejection to permit its inspectors enter offices of the ruling Baath Party in Baghdad as " an unacceptable act," whereas Baghdad accused the committee of" violating arrangements of inspection operations."
Spokesman for UNSCOM Ewen Bucanan said the incident is "dangerous," adding we " have legal reasons to carry out this inspection operations.." He continued that " series of surprising operations will continue," adding that an " official at the Baath party asked the inspection team to write a list in things the team searches for but the team refused the Iraqi request and left the place.
Meanwhile, SANA said that in an interview with Monte Carlo radio on Wednesday the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed satisfaction over Iraq's co-operation with UNSCOM.
He hoped that such co-operation would continue so as the UN Security Council will be able to carry out comprehensive revision of imposed sanctions on Iraq.
Meantime, the Iraqi daily al-Thawra issued in Baghdad on Wednesday described the surprise inspection operations by UNSCOM as provocative and aiming at creating a new crisis. The paper added that chairman of the UN inspection committee tries by such provocative moves to misrepresent the position of Iraq concerning the comprehensive revision which would lead to lifting sanctions.
On Monday Butler said that the UN inspectors will start sudden inspection operations in sites suspected to be linked to the Iraqi program on mass destruction weapons until the end of the current week and the beginning of next week. Furthermore, Iraq has urged the Arab League to carry out a role that may help to lift the eight-year embargo imposed on Iraq.
In a message addressed to the Secretary General of the Arab League. Esmat Abdul Meguid, the Iraqi Foreign Minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahaf said that the sanctions inflected greatest damage on the people of Iraq and caused human sufferings that resulted in the death of thousands of children every months and tens of deaths at various ages and the large - scale spread of diseases.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright today commenting on this subject said that the US will be reserving judgment until after the issue is examined.
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