Chief U-N weapons inspector Hans Blix says Iraq has refused a request to allow U-S spy planes operating under the banner of the United Nations to fly over Iraq looking for weapons.
Mr. Blix said on his arrival in Athens Monday night Iraq set a number of what he called -- "unacceptable" -- conditions for allowing U-S spy planes to overfly the territory. He also told reporters after two days of talks in Baghdad that while a number of issues were resolved, much remains to be done.
Earlier, Iraq said it will encourage scientists to be interviewed by U-N weapons inspectors in private, and appoint a team to search for warheads, like those discovered last week but not previously reported to the U-N Security Council.
Mr. Blix said Iraq and the U-N have yet to discuss what he called -- "substantive issues" -- related to anthrax, Scud missiles and nerve gas.
Mr. Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, are to provide a progress report to the U-N Security Council in one week (January 27th) on the search for banned weapons in Iraq.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer -- commenting Monday on Iraq's agreement allowing scientists to be interviewed freely -- told reporters the United States is only interested in Iraq's actions, not its words.
U-S officials said Sunday they would welcome Saddam Hussein seeking exile, saying it could avert military action. On Monday a top Iraqi envoy (Ali Hassan al Mejid) dismissed speculation Iraqi President Saddam Hussein might resign and go into exile.