U-N arms inspectors found an empty chemical warhead at a military site near Baghdad Tuesday -- just one day before the United States is expected to reveal evidence it says proves Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction.
A spokesman for the U-N inspection teams, Hiro Ueki, said the discovered warhead was the same type as 12 other empty warheads found at a separate location last month. At the time, Iraq said the warheads were overlooked leftovers from the 1980's.
Iraq has repeatedly denied it possesses banned weapons.
The developments come as U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell goes before the U-N Security Council Wednesday with what he says is further proof of Iraq's failure to disarm. Officials say Mr. Powell will produce surveillance photographs and transcripts of intercepted conversations when he briefs the Council. They say this will show Iraq moved banned materials and cleaned up suspect sites before U-N weapons inspectors arrived.
President Bush says Iraq will be disarmed by force if it chooses not to do so on its own. Mr. Bush spoke by telephone Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Iraq issue. Reports said the leaders discussed the role of U-N arms inspectors and agreed to cooperate with other countries in the framework of the U-N Security Council.
Meanwhile, the leader of Turkey's governing party says Ankara's interests may be undermined if it does not take part in a possible U-S-led war against Iraq.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the remark during a speech Tuesday to deputies from his Justice and Development Party (A-K-P).
He said Turkey's long-term interests and security could be in jeopardy if the country is not involved in the decision-making process for the future of a post-war Iraq.