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 Wednesday, 1 January, 2003, 18:06 GMT
UN inspectors to step up searches
Iraqi official (l) with UN inspector
Iraq wants a favourable judgement from inspectors

UN weapons inspectors in Iraq have begun the New Year searching four more suspect sites as they prepare to widen the scope of their operation.

A UN spokesman said inspectors were planning to use helicopters and to set up a new regional base in the north of the country.

Iraq remains angry over what it sees as American and international double standards

Sites inspected on Wednesday included a missile factory and a brewery which was visited by biological weapons experts.

More than 200 visits have been carried out since inspections resumed.

The UN says it is co-ordinating with Iraqi authorities to begin deploying helicopters.

Baghdad has made clear its displeasure - a statement from the foreign ministry said it was shocked that the request came at the start of the New Year, an official holiday in Iraq.

But the Iraqi authorities are expected to co-operate. They know how much they need a favourable judgement from the UN inspectors who must report back to the Security Council by 27 January.

On Tuesday, Iraq invited Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix back to Baghdad later in the month.

'Double standards'

A senior adviser to President Saddam Hussein said Baghdad wanted to look at ways of boosting co-operation with the UN.

But Iraq remains angry over what it sees as American and international double standards.

A newspaper owned by Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, said Arab countries should learn from the way North Korea had stood up to the US.

The paper said Pyongyang insisted on the right to possess a technology used by the Americans against the Japanese in World War II and is still being used, it said, to blackmail the world.


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31 Dec 02 | Middle East
28 Dec 02 | Middle East
11 Dec 02 | Middle East
30 Dec 02 | Middle East
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