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Rula Amin: Iraqi people relieved

Rula Amin
Rula Amin  

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The Iraqi government said Tuesday that a letter from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will be presented this week to the United Nations, a day after Iraq announced it is ready to readmit U.N. weapons inspectors "without condition."

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said Iraq is ready to work with the United Nations, but predicted the conflict would not end with the readmission of inspection teams.

Inspectors left Iraq in 1998 after being denied access to locations during their search for evidence that Iraq possessed or was developing weapons of mass destruction. Such weapons were ordered destroyed after Iraq's defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

CNN Correspondent Rula Amin is covering the story in Baghdad and filed this report:

AMIN: Aziz's comments were part of a meeting here of delegates from all over the world, who are traditional supporters of Iraq and traditional supporters for the cause of lifting the sanctions on Baghdad.

He said that Iraq was committed to what it had promised the U.N. secretary-general -- that it will allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into this country without any restrictions.

However, he could not hide Iraq's dismay. It's not surprised that the U.S. doesn't really see this as a major step. The United States says this is just another claim on a piece of paper.

The Iraqis are saying they mean what they are saying, but they accuse the United States of using the weapons inspectors and the weapons of mass destruction issue as a pretext to launch an attack against Iraq. Aziz today accused Washington of trying to take control of Iraq and its oil.

So, what the Iraqis are saying that they know that this may not be the end of this crisis, but the Iraqi people, the Iraqi officials, definitely are relieved. They know maybe this is not the end, but they have bought some time.

Now, one of the people who was at this meeting was George Galloway. He is a British minister of Parliament and a long-time supporter of Iraq and the cause of lifting U.N. sanctions on Iraq. Galloway said that the world should "quickly assure Iraq that if it complies in good faith and in good grace with the demands of the [U.N.] Security Council, that it will not be invaded."

Now, Iraq has been urged not only by its supporters to allow the inspectors back, but there has been a lot of pressure from different countries -- Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese, and especially Iraq's Arab neighbors. They have been pressuring the regime here to accept the return of the inspectors as a way to diffuse the crisis.

The situation begs the question: what is the Security Council going to do about this? Is there going to be a resolution drafted as the U.S. has been demanding? What Iraqi officials are hoping is that by this move, by allowing the inspectors back, they are circumventing any more tough action by the U.N. or a resolution that's going to bring trouble for this government.




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