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Annan warns Iraq to cooperate fast

Annan: Does not see war as inevitable but time is running out for Iraq
Annan: Does not see war as inevitable but time is running out for Iraq

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ROME, Italy (CNN) -- Iraq must "move fast" to meet international calls to disarm if it wants to avoid war, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday.

"I think everybody is determined that Iraq should disarm," Annan said Tuesday after meeting with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Annan arrived in Rome Monday night after urging members of the 15-nation European Union not to turn against each other over the Iraq crisis.

The EU has been deeply split on how to deal on Iraq with views ranging from Germany's insistence that it will not take part in a war to France saying inspections need more time to the UK giving strong backing to the United States.

Italy has also been supporting the U.S. line that Iraq has not been cooperating fully with the U.N. inspectors charged with ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

Annan said: "The message has gone out very strongly to the Iraqi leadership not just from the U.N. but from the Arab League and its neighbors.

"I hope they heed that call and cooperate -- and cooperate fully -- with the inspectors. I do not think war is inevitable but they have to move fast."

Annan was scheduled to meet with the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who is second in authority after Pope John Paul II.

The purpose of that visit has not been made public but they are expected to discuss the U.N. inspections in Iraq, the threat of U.S.-led military against and the results of a papal envoy's mission to Baghdad.

Annan will attend a meeting on Wednesday of the governing council of the Institute for Financing Agricultural Development.


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