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Gadhafi supports Iraq inspectors

Gadhafi says the 'inspection is gong to take us on the path of the truth'

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (CNN) -- Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi has backed U.N. weapons inspectors working in Iraq.

But he urged both sides in the dispute, the United States and Iraq, to act with "rationale" and respect.

He told Baghdad to cooperate and give the "indispensable conditions" necessary for the inspectors to complete their job, while warning Washington that "if we use reason, there is no rationale for war."

Gadhafi put no time limit on the inspections, unlike U.S. President George W. Bush who has said "time is running out," referring to a matter of weeks rather than months for trying to resolve the issue of whether Iraq holds weapons of mass destruction.

His comments came during an interview at the first meeting of African Union leaders in Ethiopia on Monday.

He told CNN's Catherine Bond that "I've got two persons I can address, if they accept my intervention or my words."

"President Bush should not wage war against Iraq, because there is no rationale, no justification for that.

"And Saddam must accept the presence of inspectors and provide them with all the necessary, indispensable conditions for their work, even if this inspection process should continue for several years."

He added: "Of course, if we are, you know, crazy, we can launch the war all over the world against Iraq or any other country. But if we use reason, there is no rationale for war...There is nothing that deserves to launch a war."

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is set to address the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, in a further attempt by the Washington administration to convince it that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is flouting United Nation resolution 1441. (Full Story)

Powell is expected to make a one-hour, public presentation Wednesday with photographs and perhaps transcripts of intercepted conversations in an effort to prove senior Iraqi officials have been hiding weapons and evidence of weapon programmes from U.N. inspectors.

But Gadhafi said the inspectors are the best route for finding the truth and preventing war.

"Whether he has or he has not, the inspection is going to take us on the path of the truth. Through inspection, we can inspect any house, any single dwelling in Iraq and find out."

He added: "I would like to save international peace. I would like to get rid of mass destruction weapons, not only in Iraq, but in the whole region of the Middle East. And then from the world all over."

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