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Saturday, October 31, 1998 Published at 21:51 GMT

World: Middle East

Iraq under spotlight at Security Council

Iraq: No more co-operation with UN monitors or inspectors

UN Correspondent Rob Watson: UN clearly taken by surprise by Iraq's move
The UN Security Council is holding an emergency meeting in New York to discuss Iraq's announcement breaking off all co-operation with United Nations arms inspectors.

BBC UN correspondent Rob Watson says it is unlikely the Security Council will do more than condemn Baghdad's move.

White House officials are also considering their response.

Richard Downes in Baghdad: How Iraq has intensified its non-co-operation with Unscom
The Iraqis have been refusing to allow inspectors do to any work in the country since early August, but correspondents say the latest move is an escalation in the continuing dispute over inspections.

The new move follows a decision on Friday by the UN Security Council to review Baghdad's compliance with UN resolutions - but without any guarantee that this would lead to a lifting of sanctions against Iraq.

[ image: Iraq demands the sacking of Unscom chief Butler]
Iraq demands the sacking of Unscom chief Butler
The statement said Iraq has "broken off all cooperation with Unscom and its chief and stopped all its activities in Iraq, including the 'monitoring operations' as from today (Saturday)".

The decision "does not concern the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which can continue its activities ... on condition that they are totally independent from those of Unscom."

The action intensifies the reduction of Iraqi cooperation with the United Nations.

Richard Downes reports on escalating tensions in Baghdad
BBC Correspondent Richard Downes says the Iraqi statement contains a forceful request for the sacking of the Unscom chief, Richard Butler. Mr Butler is currently in the United States.

On 5 August Iraq suspended inspections by both the Special Commission and the IAEA teams that were searching for new sites that might contain illegal weapons. But monitoring activities by the two bodies were allowed to continue.

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