U-N officials say it may take several weeks to examine Iraq's declaration of its weapons programs, which Baghdad says it will hand over on Saturday.
Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations confirms the report will run for thousands of pages and will be at least partly written in Arabic, which will require some time for translation. U-N weapons experts will have to check it against information in a one-million-page database.
Speaking to reporters at the U-N today (Friday), Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed al-Douri said the report would have some "new elements," without elaborating. He repeated Iraq's claim to have no weapons of mass destruction, and said the country has no intention of producing any again.
Iraq plans to hand over the document one day ahead of a U-N Security Council-imposed deadline. The United States says it has information proving Iraq still has the banned weapons.
Security Council members have decided to delay public release of the document for fear it may contain information on how to make chemical or biological weapons. Chief U-N weapons inspector Hans Blix told reporters that he would brief the council early next week on the declaration's contents.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says the next few days will not be the time to declare whether Iraq has violated a U-N resolution demanding Iraq give up its weapons of mass destruction.
However, Mr. Straw adds that a false Iraqi declaration would make it clear to the world that President Saddam Hussein's strategy is deception.
U-S officials are pressing U-N inspectors to offer key Iraqi weapons scientists help in getting out of the country, so they can be offered asylum in exchange for disclosing details of Iraqi weapons programs.
However, Mr. Blix told reporters today that his team will not kidnap anyone, nor serve as a defection agency.