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Sunday, 24 November, 2002, 17:24 GMT
Iraq blasts 'evil' UN resolution
Iraqi soldier watches UN vehicle pass
Iraq urges inspector to stick to UN - not US - goals
Baghdad has issued a sharp critique of the UN Security Council resolution which backs the resumption of weapons inspections in Iraq this week.

A letter from Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan says Resolution 1441 is being used as a pretext by the United States for a premeditated attack on Iraq.


Considering any omission by Iraq as a material breach means that there is premeditation in targeting Iraq

Naji Sabri
Mr Sabri's letter analyses each of the 13 paragraphs of the resolution text, highlighting the parts he considers unjust and illegitimate.

Iraqi objections appear to centre mainly on Paragraph 4 of the resolution, stipulating that "false statements or omissions" in the declaration of its weaponry "shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations".

Mr Sabri writes: "Considering any omission by Iraq as a material breach means that there is premeditation in targeting Iraq under any futile justification.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri
Sabri's complaint comes three days ahead of first inspections
"This is based on the imaginary presumption that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.... [which] Iraq has forcefully rejected and the US and Britain did not present a single proof to back up."

The letter also argues that small inaccuracies among thousands of pages of documentation which Iraq is having to assemble - under a tight deadline set by the UN - should not be used as a pretext for war.

Iraq had signalled several weeks ago that it would comment in detail on the resolution, and Mr Sabri says Iraq will still work with the UN, despite the "evil" that Resolution 1441 contains.

But he does urge members of the Security Council to ensure that inspectors stick "to their obligations according to the UN Charter and the UN's goals" so as to expose Washington's "false accusations".

Hot line

Eighteen weapons inspectors are scheduled to arrive in Baghdad on Monday, and inspections are expected to resume on Wednesday.

UN technician works on communications tower in Baghdad
UN technical preparations began a week ago
Preparations for their return - after a four-year absence - have been continuing, with UN technical staff setting up computer and communications' systems at their Baghdad headquarters.

A hot line link is being set up between the headquarters, in a hotel on the outskirts of the city, and an Iraqi government liaison agency.

On Saturday, a UN Hercules transport plane landed with 20 metric tons of equipment on board.

Iraq has until 8 December 2002 to disclose details of its weaponry and other chemical, biological and nuclear programmes under the terms of the resolution which was passed earlier this month.

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The BBC's Ben Brown
"Nowhere will be off limits to the inspectors"

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13 Nov 02 | Middle East
21 Nov 02 | Middle East
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