BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: World: Middle East  
News Front Page
World
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent
-------------
Letter From America
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Iraq arms teams were 'manipulated'
Kofi Annan (centre left) faces Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri during talks
Talks aimed at resuming arms inspection have failed so far
The former United Nations chief arms inspector in Iraq, has for the first time publicly accused the US and other countries of manipulating the missions for their own political ends.

Swedish diplomat Rolf Ekeus, speaking on Swedish Radio, said the US had sought information about how the Iraqi security services were organised.

They were also trying to dig up intelligence on the whereabouts of the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, Mr Ekeus said.

Iraqis demonstrate in Baghdad
Arms inspectors left Iraq in 1998
Allegations of manipulation have been made in the past, notably by the Baghdad government itself.

Mr Ekeus ran Unscom - the UN weapons inspection mission in Iraq - from 1991 to 1997.

He said that initially the US and other countries were solely interested in ensuring that Iraq was not producing weapons of mass destruction, but as time went on that changed.

Tracking Saddam

He said there was no doubt the US wanted to influence the inspections to further what he called "certain fundamental US interests".

He said the Americans were interested in areas that were clearly outside the Unscom mandate.

He added that they were keen on tracking Saddam Hussein's movements, which he pointed out "could be of interest if one were to target him personally".

Mr Ekeus also said attempts were made to provoke crises which could then, as he put it, "form the basis for direct military action".

Searches halted

Similarly, he said there had been situations when the inspection teams might have conducted tough searches, but they were blocked.

"They were put under pressure from the US to halt them as, all of a sudden, a confrontation was no longer wanted, owing to wider political interests in the game."

He said other members of the UN Security Council - including the Russians - also tried to manipulate Unscom's work.

But Mr Ekeus added that external attempts to pressure him were not successful.

'No evidence of threat'

Mr Ekeus' revelations will strengthen claims by the Iraqi Government that it has not been treated fairly and that the UN is not an impartial player.

The UN inspectors left Iraq at the end of 1998, and the Iraqis have refused to allow them back.

Talks between Iraq and the United Nations to set up a new weapons inspection regime have so far come to nothing.

Amid growing speculation that the US is planning to attack Iraq another former UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, has said there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein poses a threat to the rest of the world.

Mr Ritter said military forces were already being deployed for a conflict which could engulf the entire Middle East.


Key stories

Analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDE

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

30 Jul 02 | Middle East
29 Jul 02 | Middle East
18 Jul 02 | Hardtalk
15 Jul 02 | Middle East
05 Jul 02 | Americas
05 Jul 02 | Middle East
17 Jun 02 | Americas
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes