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Sunday, 8 December, 2002, 14:45 GMT
Experts await arrival of Iraqi dossier
Iraqi officials seal the dossier case
An official Iraqi seal was placed on the document case
Iraq's long-awaited weapons declaration is being flown for analysis at the United Nations in New York and the International Atomic Energy Agency's headquarters in Vienna.


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 statement
The document was flown to Cyprus on Sunday morning to be loaded on to other aircraft.

The Baghdad government says the 12,000 page declaration demonstrates that it possesses none of the weapons of mass destruction which the United States and Britain suspect.

US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage has arrived in Japan on the first leg of an Asian tour aimed at building support for US policy on Iraq.

Japan can only offer support for post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq, as constitutional restrictions do not allow it to take part in a military campaign, says the BBC's Tokyo correspondent Charles Scanlon.

Our correspondent says Mr Armitage may receive a less sympathetic response in Beijing - his next stop - as China has spoken consistently in favour of a diplomatic and negotiated solution.

Loading the dossier onto the UN plane
The dossier was loaded onto a UN plane
He is also due to visit South Korea and Australia.

Inspectors from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic) are meanwhile continuing with their checks. A further 35 inspectors are due in Baghdad on Sunday to bolster the team.

The BBC's Ben Brown in Baghdad says that, as well as visiting sites, the inspectors are now likely to interview key people and ask the Iraqi Government for documents about weapons programmes.

Ultimate test

The dossier is expected to arrive at UN headquarters later on Sunday, where those parts of it that are in Arabic will be translated and then studied by experts from the UN as well as the US and its allies.

Our correspondent in Baghdad says it is an historic document, which could ultimately dictate if there is to be war. But its size alone means it will take time to digest.

The Bush administration has issued a terse statement saying it will analyse the declaration's credibility and warning that it must satisfy United States scrutiny if Iraq is to avoid military attack.

The White House emphasised that Iraq had only handed over "what it claims" is a statement of its biological, chemical, nuclear and other weapons programmes.

It reiterated that a "full and accurate" declaration had been promised in accordance with the rigorous UN Security Council resolution.


What next?
  • Inspectors have to study the declaration and brief the Security Council.
  • 26 January: Sixty days from the start of their work, inspectors have 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.

    The UK Foreign Office said it was important not to rush to judgment on the Iraqi declaration, adding that Prime Minister Tony Blair's government had not yet seen a copy of the document.

    On their ninth day in Iraq, the weapons experts picked a geological research facility centre in central Baghdad, not far from their compound.

    Biological and chemical experts went to Fallugah, north-west of the capital.

    There are three Fallugah complexes, all sites where Iraq produced chemical and biological arms in the past.

    Parts of these sites were destroyed during the 1991 Gulf War and later during Operation Desert Fox in 1998.

    Fallugah now produces chlorine and phenol - the CIA believes the output is too great for civilian uses.

    Castor beans are also processed at Fallugah to produce brake fluids, but they can also be transformed to make ricin toxin - a biological weapon, the BBC's Kim Ghattas reports from Baghdad.

     WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's David Shukman
    "The hunt for secret weapons is about to move up to a new gear"
    Andrew Brookes, defence analyst
    "We're not going to find a nuclear reactor site hidden in the margins"
    Simon Henderson, Saddam Hussein biographer
    "There will be only one loser in this and that's Saddam"

    Key stories

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    See also:

    07 Dec 02 | Middle East
    07 Dec 02 | Middle East
    08 Dec 02 | Middle East
    08 Dec 02 | Politics
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