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Saturday, 5 October, 2002, 04:27 GMT 05:27 UK
Arms chief backs tough Iraq resolution
Saddam Hussein's Sujud presidential palace in Baghdad
The US draft plan demands access to Saddam's palaces
The head of the United Nations weapons inspectors has said he would welcome a tough new resolution to support his mission in Iraq, as the US produces what it says is more evidence against Saddam Hussein.

It's clear that there has to be constant pressure to get the Iraqis to comply

Dr Hans Blix,
UN weapons inspections chief

Dr Hans Blix said there had been an "erosion" of the inspection regime and pressure needed to be put on Iraq to comply with the UN-mandated checks.

He was speaking after a meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Mohammed El-Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency which would be responsible for checking any nuclear programme in Iraq.

The US has meanwhile been keeping up the pressure at home and internationally, as it seeks to win support for a fresh resolution on Iraq.

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The director of the CIA, George Tenet, briefed US senators in a secret session on the situation in Iraq and his agency released its own dossier backing the view that Iraq has significant caches of illegal arms.

Much of the declassified information covers areas already mentioned by a British report.

Senators also urged Mr Tenet to release any evidence which contradicted the White House view that Iraq was a threat.

Correspondents say that a national address by President George W Bush scheduled for Monday is likely to be an attempt to win support from wavering politicians and public as well as the United Nations.

Draft resolution

Mr Powell said the US continued to favour a single, strong new UN resolution demanding action from Iraq but acknowledged there were other views in the Security Council, which have been hardening against the US.

Hans Blix
Dr Blix agreed new rules could aid the inspectors' mission
The Americans have circulated a controversial draft resolution which carries a clear threat of military intervention if Baghdad fails to comply with the mission of the weapons inspectors.

Neither the US nor Britain wants inspectors to return to Iraq until a new resolution has been adopted.

Dr Blix had wanted to return to Baghdad by the middle of this month, but acknowledged it would be awkward if his team received new instructions from the Security Council once they were in Iraq.

Open in new window : Who backs war?
Where key nations stand on Iraq

"The Security Council resolution that is now being discussed is one that I think we would welcome," he said.

"It's clear that there has to be constant pressure to get the Iraqis to comply," he added.

US 'optimistic'

Mr Powell said he was optimistic that an agreement would be reached soon among the 15 members of the UN Security Council.

UN security council
US draft resolution for UN
  • A UN member state can use "all necessary means" should Baghdad not co-operate with inspectors
  • Any permanent member of the Security Council can join an inspection mission and recommend sites to be inspected
  • Inspectors can declare no-fly and no-drive exclusion zones anywhere in Iraq
  • Access to all sites including presidential palaces
  • "There has been, as Dr Blix said, an erosion of the inspection regime... and we have to fix that," he said.

    But opposition to the US line on Iraq has been hardening at the United Nations, with Russia and France rejecting the tough draft resolution.

    Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that UN weapons inspectors had to go back to Iraq "as soon as possible".

    The French have been pushing a two-phase set of resolutions - the first outlining the inspectors' mission and the second, only if needed, detailing action to be taken against Iraq.

    And Turkey, a key US military ally bordering Iraq, said any US attack on Iraq must have international backing.

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    04 Oct 02 | Middle East
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    03 Oct 02 | Middle East
    02 Oct 02 | Americas
    16 Jul 02 | Middle East
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