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Monday, 2 December, 2002, 23:13 GMT
Bush warns Saddam over inspections
UN weapons inspector in Iraq
Five days of inspections have been completed
US President George W Bush has said he is not encouraged by Iraq's reaction so far to United Nations disarmament demands.


The inspectors are not in Iraq to play hide-and-seek with Mr Saddam Hussein

In his first extensive comments on the UN weapons inspections since they began again last week, Mr Bush challenged Baghdad to provide a "credible and complete" list of its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons by Sunday.

Only by doing this will Iraq comply with the first deadline set out in a recent UN resolution that gives the country a final chance to disarm.

"Any act of delay, deception or defiance will prove that Saddam Hussein has not adopted the path of compliance, and has rejected the path of peace," Mr Bush said in a speech to military leaders at the Pentagon.

Equipment 'missing'

After five days of work, UN weapons inspectors have apparently found no evidence of the weapons of mass destruction programme that the United States says it has.

President George W Bush
Bush has threatened to lead a "coalition of the willing" to disarm Iraq

Monday saw the inspectors visit the al-Karam plant in Baghdad, once a missile-building facility, and declared that pieces of equipment recorded by their predecessors were missing.

Monitoring cameras left behind by the previous UN team were also missing, they said.

The Iraqis said the missing items had either been destroyed in Western air raids or moved to other locations.

A spokesman for the UN team said the Iraqis had informed them about the new location of the equipment. The inspectors are now expected to go to the new sites and verify the Iraqi statement.

A second UN inspection team visited on Monday three alcohol factories at Bakuba, near Baghdad, two of which had never been inspected before.

The inspectors said that any industrial sites could conceal illicit activity.

No-fly zones

Mr Bush has threatened to lead a "coalition of the willing" to disarm Iraq if Baghdad fails to give up its weapons.

US armour on exercise in Kuwait
The US is building up forces in the region

The US president - who spoke at the Pentagon during his signing of a defence bill providing billions of dollars of extra funding for his war on terrorism - was reluctant to declare the first inspections a success.

"In the inspections process, the United States will be making one judgment: Has Saddam Hussein changed his behaviour of the last 11 years? Has he decided to co-operate willingly and comply completely or has he not?" he said.

"So far, the signs are not encouraging."

Mr Bush went on to cite Iraqi firing at American and British warplanes enforcing no-fly zones over the country, and letters sent by Baghdad to the UN that were "filled with protests and falsehoods".

These, he said, were signs that Iraq was "not taking the path of compliance".

'Crucial'

Meanwhile, in Denver, Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech that the US focus on Iraq was not a distraction from the war on terrorism, as some Democrats have claimed.

Mr Cheney said that, given the chance, al-Qaeda would join outlaw regimes like Iraq to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

"That's why confronting the threat imposed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror, it is absolutely crucial to winning the war on terror," he told about 1,500 members of the Air National Guard.

"The war on terror will not be won until Iraq is completely and verifiably deprived of weapons of mass destruction."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Bridget Kendall reports
"America is keeping up the pressure"
Ben Brown reports from Baghdad
"The Iraqis say the only missiles they've got are allowed under UN rules"

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See also:

02 Dec 02 | Middle East
02 Dec 02 | Middle East
02 Dec 02 | Middle East
02 Dec 02 | Politics
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