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Saturday, 15 January, 2000, 13:37 GMT
Iraqi paper slams UN over arms inspector

Unscom inspectors in Baghdad The agency will replace Unscom inspectors

An Iraqi newspaper has criticised the United Nations' drawn-out attempts to choose the head of a new arms inspection agency.

The newspaper Babel, run by President Saddam Hussein's son Uday, blamed Washington for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's difficulties in breaking the deadlock ahead of their Sunday deadline.

Among the hot list of the candidates are those from Nato member states, which Baghdad will not accept
Babel editorial

"Kofi Annan has been unable to lift the current deep darkness prevailing in the United Nations," the paper said in a front-page editorial.

"Frustration and failure is the character of the world body, caused by pressure from the United States and the Zionist entity (Israel)."

Divisions over sanctions

The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic) was formed last December to replace the UN Special Commission (Unscom), which was set up after the 1991 Gulf War to uncover Iraq's efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Uday Hussein Uday Hussein's newspaper said the US was behind the deadlock

The US insisted that whoever was appointed head must strictly enforce Security Council resolutions.

But correspondents said deep divisions within the council over sanctions on Iraq hampered negotiations.

The Swedish diplomat Rolf Eckhard - chief arms inspector from 1991-97 - has been ruled out, apparently because of fears that he would not enjoy the co-operation of the Iraqi authorities.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said consultation would continue over the weekend.

Diplomats said there was no agreement on the other contenders, who included: Pasi Patokallio, Finland's ambassador to Israel; Celso Amorim of Brazil; Mark Moher of Canada; and Istvan Gyarmati of Hungary.

Babel said: "Among the hot list of the candidates are those from Nato member states, which Baghdad will not accept at all."

Commission a 'failure'

Iraq has not permitted inspectors to enter the country since they withdrew in December 1998, shortly before the US and UK launched air strikes on the grounds that Baghdad had failed to co-operate with the inspection teams.

Baghdad says it has destroyed its weapons of mass destruction, and says the UN resolution establishing the agency is unacceptable.

"Choosing this or that name to chair it can mean something, but the conclusion is that the whole commission is a failure and it has been born dead," Babel said.

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See also:
17 Dec 99 |  Middle East
Analysis: UN divided over Iraq
17 Dec 99 |  Middle East
UN offers Iraq sanctions deal
18 Dec 99 |  Middle East
Iraq rejects UN resolution

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