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Iraq Liasion: No Proof Baghdad Has Banned Weapons - 2002-12-26


Iraq's top liasion with U-N weapons inspectors says the inspectors have found no proof to back up U-S and British claims that Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction.

Hossam Mohammad Amin says the inspections support Iraq's claim that it is free of such weapons, and has no programs to develop them. There has been no reaction from inspectors on Mr. Amin's statement.

Speaking to reporters today (Thursday) in Baghdad, the Iraqi liaision said the inspections have been intrusive, extensive, and sometimes aggressive, but that Iraqi officials have complied with all the inspectors' requests.

Mr. Amin also says Iraq will hand over a list of Iraqi scientists who have worked on the country's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs over the years.

Inspectors continued their work today (Thursday), interviewing the head of Baghdad's Technical University. Journalists were not allowed inside when U-N arms experts met with Mazan Mohammad Ali at his office.

But the university president later told Qatar-based al-Jazeera television that the inspectors questioned him about his school's relationship with various Iraqi ministries, and asked him to provide the names and duties of certain university officials.

Meanwhile, an official Iraqi newspaper (al-Qadissiya) says militias of Iraq's ruling Baath party have been holding military exercises in preparation for a possible U-S-led attack. Media reports from Baghdad say the government also has been distributing double rations of basic foodstuffs in case of war.

The United States and Britian have threatened military action unless Iraq complies with U-N demands to give up weapons of mass destruction.

U-N inspectors have until January 27th to report their findings on Iraqi compliance with the U-N resolution requiring Iraq to give a full accounting of its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs.

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