Unscom demands are ploy by US and Britain, says Iraq


The Iraqi Foreign Minister, Mr Mohammed Said Sahaf, said yesterday that Iraq had already handed over more than two million documents concerning its proscribed weapons and that demands by the UN arms inspectors for more paperwork were politically motivated.

"We have handed over all available documents to Unscom," he told a news conference in Baghdad.

"So asking Iraq in this artificial way is a new tactic to put obstacles and to create problems."

He accused the United States and Britain of "using Unscom in order to ask Iraq the impossible in order to say Iraq is not applying and implementing" UN resolutions.

They have "deliberately put obstacles, confusion and even threats of use of military force in order to prevent implementing" paragraph 22 of resolution 687, which provides for the lifting of the oil embargo.

"We are witnessing again a savage campaign of disinformation, misinforming international public opinion, barraging Iraq with accusations" and demands for "imaginary documents", he added.

The UN arms inspection leader, Mr Richard Butler, has issued a series of letters requesting documents containing specific data on Iraqi biological, chemical and ballistic disarmament files, demanding they be handed over at once.

On November 15th President Clinton called off massive military strikes after he received a pledge from President Saddam Hussein that Iraq would resume full co-operation with Unscom, the United Nations special commission entrusted with the task of eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The demand for several key documents was one of the points Mr Clinton insisted must be answered to prove Baghdad was finally co-operating with Unscom.