Chief U-N weapons inspector Hans Blix says Iraq's recently-submitted arms report is incomplete and leaves many questions unanswered -- but adds there are no indications yet that Baghdad possesses weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Blix -- along with chief nuclear inspector Mohamed Elbaradei -- briefed the U-N Security Council Thursday on their assessments of Iraq's 12-thousand-page weapons report.
After the briefing. Mr. Blix said the Iraqi declaration has not helped to clarify information. Earlier, Mr. Blix said a profound reading of the report confirms his impression that it failed to answer what he called "a great many questions." He also told reporters his inspectors on the ground in Iraq need more intelligence from other nations on Baghdad's suspected weapons programs. And he said U-N inspectors would be interviewing Iraqi scientists soon to get more information.
Mr. ElBaradei said inspectors need more support on the part of Iraq and that inspectors have not been allowed to do private interviews inside Iraq because government monitors are present.
Speaking at the United Nations in New York, the U-S Ambassador to the U-N John Negroponte, said Iraq's weapons report is a deliberate effort to deceive by omission. He repeated the U-S view that the omissions constitute a so-called "material breach" of the U-N resolution calling on Baghdad to disarm. The British Ambassador to the U-N, Jeremy Greenstock, said Iraq is missing an opportunity to clear up questions that were not answered in its weapons report. The French ambassador, Jean-Marc De La Sabliere, said Iraq must provide the U-N with additional information to lift uncertainty.
General Hossam Mohammed Amin -- the chief Iraqi liaison officer to the inspection teams -- told a news conference in Baghdad Thursday a U-N inspector raised the possibility of taking Iraqi scientists abroad for questioning, and that the inspector was told it is up to each individual scientist to decide. He again denied there are any gaps in Iraq's weapons report.
U-N inspectors in Iraq are due to present to the Security Council a preliminary assessment of Iraq's weapons program by January 27th. Iraq denies that its weapons declaration is incomplete.
U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States has begun providing U-N arms inspectors with "significant" intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer repeated Thursday Iraq has been hiding its weapons and said President Bush remains concerned about discrepancies and inconsistencies in Iraq's weapons report.