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Saturday, 7 December, 2002, 21:57 GMT
Iraq hands over weapons dossier
The document was displayed on hard copy and CD-Rom
Iraq has handed over to the United Nations a huge dossier setting out details of the country's weapons programme - one day ahead of the deadline to do so.

Iraqi officials carried the 12,000-page document and two separate annexes into the UN inspectors' Baghdad headquarters in cardboard boxes and plastic bags.

The faithful in Kuwait should join hands with brothers in Iraq to defeat evil, instead of joining forces with London and Washington

Saddam Hussein
Journalists, who had earlier been allowed a glimpse of the dossier, were prevented from following them into the building.

At the same time, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein delivered a televised message to the Kuwaiti people.

In the address, read by Information Minister Mohamed Said Sahaf, he accused the leadership of Kuwait of conspiring "hand in hand" with infidel forces who were preparing to attack Iraq.

He appealed to the Kuwait people to rise up against the foreigners who he said were inflicting evil on the Arab peoples.

Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein urged Kuwaitis to disobey their leaders
He also apologised to the Kuwaitis for what he termed acts that had caused anger in the past, saying he wanted to set the record straight about Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

"We apologise to God for any deed that angered him in the past, which we might not have known of and is blamed on us, and on this basis we also apologise to you."

Kuwaiti anger

Kuwait's Information Minister Sheik Ahmed Fahd Al Ahmed Al Sabah dismissed the apology as unworthy of a response and accused Saddam Hussein of inciting terror attacks.

"He must apologise to the Iraqi people first for dragging them into wars that wasted their resources and apologise to the State of Kuwait by telling the truth and returning the prisoners," Mr Al Sabah said.

We are not claiming that (Iraq) still has weapons of mass destruction but the British and the Americans are - we just have questions

Hans Blix

Earlier, small groups of reporters filed into the headquarters of the Iraqi body liaising with the UN, the National Monitoring Directorate, to get a glimpse of the document.

National Monitoring Directorate head Hussam Mohammed Amin said that Iraq was "empty of any weapons of mass destruction", although the document contained some activities which were potentially for dual military and civilian use.

The BBC's Ben Brown in Baghdad says that in view of this, the dossier is almost certain to fall short of US and British demands.

UN chief arms inspector Hans Blix, who will receive the document, said he and his team of inspectors were keeping an open mind.

"We are not claiming that (Iraq) still has weapons of mass destruction but the British and the Americans are," he said. "We just have questions."

The Bush administration issued a statement acknowledging the handover, saying it will analyse the declaration "with respect to its credibility and its compliance" with the latest UN resolution.

UN car in Iraq
Inspectors have resumed their work
Inspections timetable:
  • 8 December: Iraq must make a current and complete declaration of chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programmes.
  • 26 January: Inspectors have 60 days from the start of inspections to report on their progress.
  • Inspections can be halted at any time, and "serious consequences" ensue if Iraq obstructs inspectors.

    See also:

  • "We will continue to work with other countries to achieve the ultimate goal of protecting the peace by ending Saddam Hussein's pursuit and accumulation of weapons of mass destruction," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said.

    Mr Amin said many Iraqi scientists had been involved in preparing the dossier.

    He believed that the US and Britain had insisted on such a detailed project in the belief that Iraq would not be able to complete it by the UN deadline of Sunday.

    "If the US has minimum levels of fairness and bravery it should accept the report," he said.

    The massive document was displayed on a long wooden table in stacks of files, folders and CD-Roms.

    Its English title is Currently Accurate, Full and Complete Declarations.

    Nuclear programme

    Saturday also saw two teams of weapons inspectors resume their work after the two-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr with visits to research facilities south of the capital, Baghdad.

    A team from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic) visited the al-Quds site in the town of al-Iskandariyah, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Baghdad.

    The site is suspected of being involved in the development of chemical and biological weapons.

    Hamid al-Azzawi, the facility's director, said the inspectors toured the entire site and were given full co-operation.

    The International Atomic Energy Authority's (IAEA) team went to the al-Tuwaitha nuclear research complex, 20km (13 miles) south of the capital.

    Al-Tuwaitha was the site of Iraq's nuclear research programme before it was dismantled by previous teams of inspectors.

    The BBC's Ben Brown in Baghdad
    "There is no going back now for better or for worse"
    Excerpt from Saddam Hussein's statement
    "Brothers in Kuwait, we wish you to live free of foreign domination"

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    07 Dec 02 | Middle East
    07 Dec 02 | Americas
    07 Dec 02 | Middle East
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