The United States has flatly rejected Iraq's contention that it has no weapons of mass destruction.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters Wednesday afternoon the United States believes Iraq continues to posses weapons of mass destruction. He said previous Iraqi denials that it possessed such weapons were proven false by earlier U-N inspections.
Mr. Fleischer said U-N weapons inspections in Iraq will increase after Iraq announces its weapons programs in a report due Sunday. He called Iraq's report only "the beginning of a process." Earlier Wednesday, Iraq said its report will not include any admission that it has weapons of mass destruction.
The developments came as U-N monitors in Iraq continued to search for weapons.
One U-N team headed northwest of the capital, Baghdad, to make sure work at a demolished center for chemical weapons had not resumed, while another team traveled south of the capital to a facility associated with Iraq's nuclear program.
Meanwhile, a Baghdad-based U-N spokesman -- Hiro Ueki -- said inspectors will increase the number of sites they visit starting next week, when more arms experts arrive in Iraq. Mr. Ueki said several waves of inspectors will start arriving on Sunday. The United States has urged the United Nations to take a more aggressive approach on inspections, which are now into their second week.
U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan and U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell both say the inspections seem to have gotten off to a good start. On Monday, President Bush said so far the signs of Iraqi cooperation are not encouraging. But Wednesday the President did not assess Baghdad's cooperation with U-N inspections, saying -- in his words -- "time will tell".
The United States has threatened Iraq with possible war if it does not disarm.