The United States says it will present to the UN Security Council next week a second resolution expected to declare Iraq in "material breach" of a UN resolution passed in November.
A senior White House official declined to discussed the wording of the new resolution Thursday, but it is expected to say that Iraq has not complied with UN resolution 14-41, which calls on Baghdad to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction or face serious consequences.
Earlier Thursday, Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said UN weapons inspectors are being pressured to turn in a report that would justify the use of force against Iraq.
Mr. Ivanov, speaking to reporters Thursday in Moscow, said inspectors are being pressured to discontinue their operations in Iraq, as in 1998, or to come up with assessments that would justify war. He did not identify the source of the pressure, but said Moscow is urging the international community to help rather than pressure the inspectors.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that the Iraqi government has not followed through on its promises of increased cooperation with the inspectors. The Post citing UN officials, reports no Iraqi scientist involved in chemical, biological or missile technology has consented to a private interview since February 7th. The paper also said the U-N has not received critical documents from Iraq about past weapons programs, despite a government promise to submit them.
In a related development, chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has decided to ask Iraq to destroy its al-Samoud-2 missiles because they exceed the range allowed by the United Nations.
In Baghdad, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein met with top aides and military commanders Thursday to discuss defense plans in case of a U-S-led attack. Reports said army and civilian preparations were discussed.