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Blix welcomes U.S. offer of Iraq evidence

ElBaradei: Give Iraq 'one final chance'

An Iraqi accompanies U.N. weapons inspectors Tuesday at an agricultural company south of Baghdad.
An Iraqi accompanies U.N. weapons inspectors Tuesday at an agricultural company south of Baghdad.

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Tuesday: President Bush to discuss Iraq during State of the Union address

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Tuesday he would welcome the release of U.S. intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs and said inspectors could finish their work "relatively fast" if Baghdad would do more to cooperate.

Blix said U.S. officials already are providing information about Iraq's efforts to develop nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, "and that is helpful."

Bush administration officials have said they are likely to declassify some intelligence on Iraq next week. They said the material will show that senior Iraqi officials have been concealing weapons and evidence of weapons programs from inspectors.

"I think the more evidence that is placed on the table, if there is some, the better," Blix said.

"But there is some evidence that has been placed on the table that has been put into doubt, like evidence about the aluminum tubes. So the more on the table, the better."

Secretary of State Colin Powell is considering presenting U.S. intelligence on Iraq to the U.N. Security Council next week. The information includes satellite photographs and "intercepts," according to administration officials, who declined to be more specific. (Full story)

Blix also told the Qatar-based news network Al-Jazeera he has not given up hope inspections will succeed in verifying Iraq's disarmament. But, he said, "they know very well what they should provide. We have not seen it yet."

"In the dossier for which I am responsible -- the biological and chemical [weapons] and missiles -- there are a great many questions that relate to whether Iraq still has any of those left -- many, many unanswered questions," Blix said. (Full story)

President Bush is expected to lay out his case against Iraq in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. He will not call for war but will make it clear that the United States and its allies are prepared for military action, officials said. (Full story)

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Tuesday that Iraq deserves "one final chance" to help U.N. weapons inspectors learn if it has disarmed.

"I know that the international community is getting impatient," ElBaradei said on CNN's "American Morning."

"But I think it is worth trying one more time and [giving] Iraq one final chance before we think of going to war. I think if we can make progress, and if we can disarm Iraq through peaceful means, that is obviously in the interest of everybody." (Full story)

An aide to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein accused U.N. weapons inspectors Tuesday of skewing the facts in their report to the Security Council and said Iraq has accounted for its stocks of nerve gas and anthrax.

Iraqi presidential adviser Gen. Amer Rasheed said Iraq has provided "complete cooperation in every aspect" but is willing to do more to help weapons inspectors. (Full story)

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw accused Saddam of systematically deceiving U.N. arms inspectors over his weapons programs.

And Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Baghdad that Moscow could move closer to Washington's position if U.N. inspectors were hampered in their hunt for signs of banned nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. (Full story)

Iraq denies it has weapons of mass destruction. Iraqi leaders insist the United States is looking for an excuse to launch a war to dominate the region and steal Iraqi oil.

CNN correspondents John King, Barbara Starr and Andrea Koppel contributed to this report.


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