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Monday, February 23, 1998 Published at 08:40 GMT

World: Middle East

Gulf peace deal signed
image: [ Kofi Annan and Tariq Aziz shake hands after speaking to reporters ]
Kofi Annan and Tariq Aziz shake hands after speaking to reporters

Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, has said the agreement which he signed with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, removes a major obstacle to weapons inspectors being allowed to do their job.

Mr Annan said he would tell the Security Council that the terms of the agreement were acceptable when he arrived back in New York on Tuesday.

[ image: Aziz: diplomacy, not sabre-rattling helped agreement]
Aziz: diplomacy, not sabre-rattling helped agreement
Mr Annan said he had received undertakings from Iraq that the UN weapons inspectors would be given access to carry out inspections and he said they would carry out their work with sensitivity.

He said the UN had negotiated in good faith, and he had a "good discussion" with President Saddam Hussein, which had been frank and constructive.

He was confident and hopeful that the agreement would take the parties beyond the current crisis and that there would be no need to come back to the matter.

[ image: Annan: negotiations in good faith]
Annan: negotiations in good faith
At the joint press conference, Tariq Aziz said the military build-up in the Gulf had not scared the leadership or the people of Iraq.

It had been the goodwill Mr Annan had brought with him that had helped the agreement, he said, not the presence of American and British forces in the Gulf.

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