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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Iraq to Deliver Report on VX, Anthrax

Aired March 13, 2003 - 10:54   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR; We have breaking news to tell you about concerning Iraq. Evidently, U.N. weapons inspectors are expecting Iraq to deliver reports on VX and anthrax. That supposedly will happen sometime this week. Let's see, they said they were working on it one week ago, and the implication was sometime this week. That's from Ewan Buchanan, a spokesman for the weapon inspectors. He hopes the resolution will be new, and will also lead to resolution of some of the outstanding issues, and there are many outstanding issues when it comes to chemical and biological weapons.
Let's go to the United Nations right now and check in with Richard Roth with what this may mean -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Well, this isn't a big surprise, Carol, because Iraq had said about 10 or, 11 or 12 days ago that they would provide reports. Of course, some have doubted it. U.S. officials say, where has this report been? And the U.N. will wait to see it before judging it.

These reports deal with chemical and biological weaponry. The key areas, according to the U.S. and others, who are in favor of military force, that Baghdad has certainly not come clean on. They're expecting these reports, as you mentioned, Ewan Buchanan, the spokesman here in New York, says they were working on it one week ago. An indication was that they were going to get it sometime this week.

So according to the spokesman, UNMOVIC, the weapons inspection agency, hopes the information will be new and will lead to some type of resolution about standing issues. Iraq has produced about 8,500 liters of anthrax. The last report, I believe, said 10,000 possibly hoarded after the Gulf War. And 3.9 tons of VX nerve agent. Iraq has insisted that they have destroyed VX and anthrax inventories in the summer of 1991.

But of the most recent technical talks, Iraq was trying to get the weapons inspectors to go to various sights and look in the soil 10 to 12 years later. Even Hans Blix said if you poured milk into the soil, 10 or 12 years ago, you'd never be able to tell that it was still milk.

VX, anthrax key areas in the latest report from the weapons inspectors, recording areas of disarmament still to be accomplished. VX, and nerve gas, things like that, anthrax, are key words, despite all the diplomatic wrangling here, and they are included in the benchmarks from Britain. One of the six key items that possibly Iraq will have to comply with.

COSTELLO: We'll see what's in the report next week. Richard Roth, reporting live from the United Nations.

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