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Blix: Iraq's actions 'very limited'

From Ronni Berke

Blix will formally deliver his next report to the Security Council Saturday.
Blix will formally deliver his next report to the Security Council Saturday.

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•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- In a report to be given to the Security Council on Saturday, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix will recommend steps Iraq can take to resolve several disarmament issues while noting that, so far, Baghdad's actions to comply with the United Nations demand to disarm "have been very limited."

"During the period of time covered by this report, Iraq could have made greater efforts to find remaining proscribed items, or credible evidence showing the absence of such items," said a draft of the report, which covers the period from December 1- March 1.

"The results in terms of disarmament have been very limited so far," the draft report says.

CNN obtained a draft copy of the report, which is due Saturday but will be distributed to council members Friday night.

"UNMOVIC is finalizing their internal document of some importance, namely a list of disarmament issues, which it considers currently unresolved, and the measures Iraq could take to resolve them, either by presenting proscribed stocks and items, or by providing convincing evidence that no such stocks or items exist," the draft says.

Blix writes that even if Baghdad begins to cooperate in earnest with inspectors, the complete disarmament of Iraq will take time.

"Under Resolution 1284, Iraq was required to provide cooperation in all respects to UNMOVIC and IAEA ... while the objective of the cooperation under this resolution, as under Resolution 1441 is the attainment without delay of verified disarmament, it is the cooperation that must be immediate, unconditional and active. Without the required cooperation, disarmament and its verification will be problematic, however, even with the requisite cooperation it will inevitably require some time."

He said Iraq has been slow in getting started.

"The destruction of missiles requested has not yet begun. Iraq could have made full use of the declaration which was submitted on 7 December. It is hard to understand why a number of the measures which are now being taken, could not have been initiated earlier. If they had been taken earlier, they might have borne fruit by now," Blix writes in the draft.

The missiles Blix is referring to are the Al Samoud 2 weapons, which U.N. experts say have a range beyond the 150 kilometers (93 miles) allowed under U.N. resolutions. In a letter sent last week, the chief inspector ordered Baghdad to begin destroying the missiles by March 1.

Thursday afternoon, Iraq sent a "short" letter to weapons inspectors, in which it agreed in principle to begin destruction of the missiles, even though it said the request is unfair.

However, Baghdad said it does not know how to destroy the weapons and wants a technical mission to discuss the details. It also did not say when it would begin the destruction.

A U.N. official said any technical mission on how to destroy the missiles would involve how the destruction would be verified.

Blix also noted in his draft report that Baghdad is only lately taking some steps to comply with weapons inspectors.

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