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Last Updated:  Sunday, 2 March, 2003, 16:56 GMT
Iraq destroys more missiles
UN inspectors in chemical protection suits
The US says Iraq is hiding banned weapons
Iraq says it has destroyed more al-Samoud II missiles after complying with a UN deadline on Saturday to begin disposing of the banned weapons.

Six missiles and a casting chamber were bulldozed on Sunday at the same site where the first four were destroyed on Saturday, an Iraqi information ministry official said.

Iraq is said to have about 100 al-Samoud II missiles which the UN says breach range limits it imposed after the 1991 Gulf War.

Iraqi officials are also due to hold talks with UN weapons inspectors later on Sunday over stocks of chemical and biological agents Baghdad says it has destroyed.

The talks, involving deputy chief inspector Dimitri Perricos, are expected to focus on Baghdad's alleged stocks of VX and anthrax.

There are some inherent difficulties to quantify destroyed toxins
Hiro Ueki
Inspectors' spokesman
However any new Iraqi concessions look set to be dismissed by the US and UK, the chief proponents of military action to disarm the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Washington has already said that Iraq's belated action over the al-Samouds, which began on Saturday with the destruction of four missiles and a casting chamber, is no more than a "game of deception".

Swift destruction

Iraqi presidential advisor Lt Gen Amer al-Saadi said the destruction of the al-Samoud II missiles showed Iraq's "pro-active co-operation" with UN inspectors.

But, he warned, the destruction programme could be halted if the United States continued to threaten war.

"If it turns out at an early stage during this month that America is not going to a legal way, then why should we continue?" asked General al-Saadi.

Tactical surface-to-surface ballistic missile powered by liquid fuel
Tested at range of 183 km - in excess of UN 150 km limit
Diameter also in excess of prescribed limit
May be able to deliver biological or chemical warhead

Dimitri Perricos, head of the UN inspection team, says he has agreed with Baghdad on a timetable of "a few days or a very short few weeks" to destroy the missiles, as well as components, software and machines used to make them.

The talks with Iraqi officials will focus on an Iraqi proposal to quantify the amount of anthrax and VX that they claim to have destroyed in July 1991.

"There are some inherent difficulties to quantify destroyed toxins, that is why technical discussions are needed later today," the inspectors' spokesman Hiro Ueki said.

Iraq has provided no documentary evidence to support its claim that the toxins were destroyed.

The Iraqi concessions deepen the divide between nations, led by the US, who want swift action to disarm Baghdad, and those calling for more time for the weapons inspectors to do their work.

North Korea offer

In another development, it was reported that a Macau casino mogul has passed a message to Saddam Hussein from North Korea offering him asylum.

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said that Stanley Ho - who runs a casino in North Korea - had been told by authorities in Pyongyang that they would offer the Iraqi leader and his family a new home.

At an Arab League summit in Egypt on Saturday, the United Arab Emirates called for Saddam Hussein to step down to prevent war.

The BBC's Adam Brookes reports from Baghdad
"The mathematics of missiles don't satisfy in London and Washington"

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