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Iraq decries 'summit of outlaws'

Saddam says he is prepared to fight with
Saddam says he is prepared to fight with "daggers, swords and sticks" if necessary.

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As the U.S. moves closer to war, Iraqis are taking extra precautions as they prepare. CNN's Nic Robertson reports.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq has angrily denounced talks held by the leaders of the United States, Britain, and Spain, branding Sunday's meeting in the Azores a "summit of outlaws" who were flouting international law.

"I think it's a failure," Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Sa'eed al-Sahaf told reporters in the Iraqi capital Monday.

He said President George W. Bush, and Prime Ministers Tony Blaire and Jose Maria Aznar were "outlaws who have deviated from international law."

"Those despicable three failures, they tried again to divert attention and all they presented was a string of lies and dark black propaganda like Mr. Bush and others."

Al-Sahaf insisted that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction, and said Baghdad would continue to cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors.

"But if they put us with no other alternative we have to defend our country and we will do that," he added.

Amid the seemingly growing likelihood of war, officials say Iraq is scheduled to destroy two more al-Samoud 2 missiles Monday, bringing the total number of missiles destroyed up to 72.

They are also expected to destroy other missile components.

The United States and Britain say Iraq has violated U.N. resolutions requiring it give up nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, long-range missiles and efforts to develop nuclear weapons, and have threatened to disarm Iraq by force if necessary.

'A great lie'

About 250,000 U.S., British and Australian troops are massed around Iraq in preparation for a possible war.

Iraq leader Saddam Hussein has again denied U.S. and British allegations that his country has retained stocks of weapons of mass destruction, calling the accusation "a great lie."

"Are weapons of mass destruction a needle that can be hidden in a head cap or a headdress of an old woman at home and the inspectors can not find them?" he asked.

The Iraqi leader has vowed to fight any U.S.-led invasion, saying his troops would use sticks and knives if necessary and would attack "wherever there was sky, land and water."

"If God wanted, by God, we will fight them with daggers, swords and sticks if the other arms were scarce," Saddam told senior military officers in a speech broadcast on Iraqi television.

"If the enemy opens the battle on a wide scale, we will open wherever there was sky, land and water on the entire Earth," he added.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said Baghdad was preparing for war and government officials had ordered the distribution of up to five months' worth of food rations to its more than 4 million residents.

"In Iraq, we are ready in two fronts," Sabri said. "First, full cooperation with the inspectors, so that they can fulfill their duties according to the U.N. resolution, and this is a clear commitment.

"On the second front, we are prepared to kill the aggressors in the Iraqi desert. Those who put a foot on Iraq will not leave alive," he said.


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