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Monday, June 28, 1999 Published at 03:29 GMT 04:29 UK

World: Middle East

Unscom may have spied on Iraq - Annan

The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has said there is some justification for allegations that UN weapons inspectors in Iraq were involved in spying for Washington.

In a BBC interview, Mr Annan said it was worrying that the Americans had never denied the allegations, which he admitted had not only undermined the UN inspection agency, Unscom, but also future disarmament regimes.

He added that it was an uncomfortable situation for the UN, and one that had done it considerable harm.

Earlier this year a former UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, accused Washington of using Unscom to obtain information on how to remove President Saddam Hussein from power.

UN inpectors have been unable to return to Iraq since the US and Britain mounted intensive bombing raids in December.

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