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Saturday, 9 November, 2002, 03:03 GMT
UN inspector hopeful on Iraq mission
Ambassadors from Syria, the UK and the US vote for the resolution
The vote followed eight weeks of negotiation
The chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, has expressed confidence that Iraq will comply with a tough new UN Security Council resolution calling on it to give up its weapons of mass destruction.

Dr Blix told the BBC he hoped Baghdad would use the opportunity to "come out of a dark tunnel".

Next steps
7 days: Iraq must confirm whether it will "comply fully" with the resolution
30 days: Iraq must reveal all programmes, plants and materials which could be used for weapons production
45 days: Inspectors must be allowed to resume their checks
Thereafter, inspectors have 60 days to report back to the Security Council but may report violations earlier
The council unanimously endorsed the resolution on Friday, and US President George W Bush warned Iraq it faced "the severest consequences" if it did not comply with the new demands.

So far there has been no official reaction from Baghdad.

Dr Blix has said his team will go to Iraq on 18 November to resume their work.

The team will be backed by the UN resolution's new, tougher, rules which give inspectors "immediate, unimpeded and unconditional" access to any site they want, including Saddam Hussein's palaces.

"The principle is no notice inspections," Dr Blix told the BBC's Newsnight programme.

The long-awaited resolution was endorsed by all 15 members of the Security Council - including Russia and France, which had both voiced objections to earlier proposals.

Syria, the only Arab representative, also voted in favour, despite being denied a request for a delay in the vote.

Zero tolerance

President Bush stressed that the vote simply gave the "outlaw regime" of Saddam Hussein one final chance to get rid of his illegal weapons - or the US and its allies would take it upon themselves to disarm Iraq.

"His co-operation must be prompt and unconditional, or he will face the severest consequences," he said.

Dr Hans Blix
Dr Blix and his team are due to return to Iraq in nine days
Mr Bush said he would prefer Iraq to meet its obligations voluntarily, but he was "prepared for the alternative".

"In either case, the just demands of the world will be met," he said.

"The full disarmament of weapons of mass destruction will occur. The only question for the Iraqi regime is to decide how."

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair echoed Mr Bush in a warning to the Iraqi leader: "Defy the UN's will and we will disarm you by force. Be in no doubt whatever over that."

Intense diplomacy

The adoption of the resolution came after eight weeks of intense negotiation, much of which focused on a French demand that war should not be the automatic result of a failure by Iraq to abide by the resolution.

President George W Bush with Colin Powell
Mr Bush - backed by Colin Powell - said Iraq could disarm or be disarmed
French President Jacques Chirac said the vote "offers Iraq a chance to disarm in peace".

"That was the meaning of France's initiative since the start," he said.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also urged Baghdad to seize the opportunity to disarm and "begin to end the isolation and suffering of the Iraqi people".

Open in new window : Iraq Weapons
Iraqi chemical and biological weapons

Baghdad's UN Ambassador, Mohammed al-Douri, said he did not yet know what his country's response would be to the demands which he described as reflecting "the will of the United States on the rest of the world".

Russia, which had also opposed earlier drafts, said the latest text was the best possible under the circumstances.

Main points of resolution
Iraq has breached UN resolutions
Tough inspection regime to be set up
Baghdad given deadlines to comply
Inspectors to have immediate access to all suspected sites, including palaces
Inspectors to report immediately any Iraqi breaches
Iraq to face "serious consequences" if it continues to violate its obligations

Though there is no requirement for a second resolution to authorise force, further action by the Security Council can only be triggered if the weapons inspectors complain that their work is being hindered.

Correspondents say the changes in earlier drafts were key to the unanimous support - particularly in securing the vote of the only Arab member of the Security Council, Syria, which had been expected to abstain.

Syria had said the resolution set conditions Baghdad could never meet, but changed its mind after assurances from the US and Britain that it would not be used as a pretext to attack Iraq.

The BBC's Jon Leyne reports from the UN
"Iraq has one month to declare its holdings of weapons of mass destruction"
The BBC's Caroline Hawley reports from Baghdad
"They feel very isolated"
President George W Bush
"Saddam's compliance with the UN must be prompt and unconditional"

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See also:

09 Nov 02 | Middle East
09 Nov 02 | Middle East
08 Nov 02 | Americas
07 Nov 02 | Americas
08 Nov 02 | Middle East
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