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Rumsfeld warns Iraq

From Jamie McIntyre

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U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned Saddam Hussein that he must help U.N. weapons inspectors if he expects to avoid war. CNN's Jamie McIntyre reports (November 18)
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CNN's Richard Roth follows chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix to Paris as he prepares for the trip to Baghdad (November 16)
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SANTIAGO, Chile (CNN) -- Complaining about Iraq firing once again at U.S. and British planes patrolling the "no-fly" zones, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Sunday warned Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that he must help U.N. weapons inspectors if he expects to avoid war.

Firing at coalition aircraft defies the United Nations even before the inspectors have even arrived, said Rumsfeld, who arrived in Chile Sunday for talks with the country's president and other South American officials.

"The resolution addresses the subject, and it's up to the Security Council to make conclusions about whether it is or is not a material breach," Rumsfeld said.

Iraq fired at U.S. planes Sunday in the northern "no-fly" zone. Washington insists such actions are a clear violation of the U.N. disarmament resolution which bans hostile acts against member states supporting any U.N. resolution.

Rumsfeld stopped short, however, of saying the attacks in the "no-fly" zone would alone trigger war, saying he and President Bush would instead inspect Iraq's "pattern of behavior."

The defense secretary told reporters en route to Chile that it will not be good enough for Iraq simply not to thwart U.N. inspectors when they arrive. Iraq needs to help them so it can be seen as fully complying with the U.N. disarmament resolution, he said.

"They have an obligation under that to affirmatively state what they have," said Rumsfeld. "One would think that that would be a help to the inspectors if it were honestly and accurately answered, not just as to what they have, but where it's located."

U.S. officials say the role of the inspectors is to verify Iraq is giving up its weapons of mass destruction voluntarily, not to force Iraq to disarm against its will. That means Iraq must actively assist the inspectors in accounting for hidden weapons and finding deeply buried facilities, not just sit back and hope the inspectors fail.

"The resolution suggests that that behavior pattern would not be acceptable," the defense secretary said.

Pentagon officials say it will be up to Bush and the United Nations to decide whether Saddam has lived up to the spirit and letter of the U.N. resolution.

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