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Iraq urged to comply with U.N.

Blix
Chief U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix joins the team in Cyprus on Sunday

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KEY DATES
November 18: Weapons inspectors arrive in Iraq to set up logistics, communications.
December 8: By this date, Iraq must provide a "currently accurate, full, and complete declaration" of any weapons of mass destruction program.
December 23: Weapons inspections must resume.
February 21: Inspectors must report back to the Security Council.
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CNN's Rusty Dornin examines new sensor technology that could help U.N. inspectors detect weapons material in Iraq. (November 13)
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CNN's David Ensor reports on the obstacles facing U.N. weapons inspectors. (November 13)
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CNN's Jamie McIntyre looks at problems the United States may face if Iraq cooperates fully with the U.N. resolution.
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PARIS, France -- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iraq must provide "immediate, unfettered access to any location or site" and cooperate in every way with weapons inspectors.

Mohammed ElBaradei, director-general of the IAEA, was speaking on Friday as the United Nations chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said "several elements lead us to believe we cannot exclude (Iraq has) Scud missiles, anthrax and other things."

But Blix said there was no "solid proof that (Iraq) possesses arms of mass destruction" although he has earmarked up to 700 sites for possible inspection.

ElBaradei told CNN that the return to Baghdad of the inspectors on Monday after a four-year absence that is "an opportunity to cough up whatever they have left of weapons of mass destruction."

ElBaradei said on Friday: "I think this will be a beginning for a path for Iraq to go back into being a full-fledged member of the international community, towards suspension of sanctions, towards a comprehensive settlement.

"This is an opportunity. It is an alternative to the use of force."

Blix, head of U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), the body "charged with dismantling Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," will visit France and Cyprus over the weekend before flying to Baghdad on Monday to spearhead weapons inspections.

After meeting French government officials, Blix will meet ElBaradei in Cyprus, where the rest of the weapons inspectors are gathering.

The U.N. resolution requires Iraq to fully disclose its arsenal to weapons inspectors by December 8.

Blix said UNMOVIC has identified some 700 sites to check in Iraq and could consider an entry delay of even 30 minutes as a serious violation.

In an interview with the Paris-based Le Monde newspaper, Blix said: "You can't hide a large weapon or machine in a half hour, but (you could hide) documents or biology test tubes.

"I would say that even a delay of half an hour could be serious."

If an inspection is delayed or blocked in any way, it will be reported to the U.N. Security Council, Blix said.

"It's not for us to decide if there has been a 'material breach,' it's for the council," he added.

"We will say: 'Here, there was an obstacle. There, an interference in our activities.' The council will judge.

"To this day, we do not have solid proof that they possess arms of mass destruction. But several elements lead us to believe we cannot exclude they have Scud missiles, anthrax and other things."

He said that significant improvements have been made since 1998 to satellite imaging and other instruments inspectors use during their missions.

Satellite images have shown that some sites that were destroyed in 1998 have been rebuilt, he said.

Meanwhile, Iraq's state-run media has said the U.N. resolution amounts to a "breach of the U.N. Charter" but the government agreed to it to spare its people from harm.

Al-Thawra, the voice of Saddam's ruling Baath party, said the resolution was "ill-intentioned, unjust and bad."

"In fact, it could be the worst resolution ever issued against our country," the paper said. "It represents a breach of the U.N. Charter.

"Iraq's acceptance of the resolution is an attempt to save our people from any harm," the newspaper Al-Iraq said.



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