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U.S.: No resolution, no inspectors

U.N., Iraq agree on inspections

"There is no magic calendar" for U.N. inspectors in Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday.

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CNN's Christiane Amanpour reports Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix is in Vienna to lay out practical arrangements for inspectors in Iraq (September 30)
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VIENNA, Austria (CNN) -- Despite an agreement between U.N. and Iraqi officials, the United States will oppose the return of U.N. weapons inspectors to Iraq without a new mandate from the U.N. Security Council, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday.

Iraqi officials agreed to give U.N. weapons inspectors unrestricted access to most -- but not all -- of their country, with inspectors planning to return in mid-October unless the Security Council stops them.

Powell said the United States does not want the inspectors to return before the Security Council passes a new resolution that threatens "consequences" if Iraq obstructs their efforts.

"There is no magic calendar as to when they should go in," Powell said. "They should go in when they have the authority to do their job."

The tough stance in Washington comes as Iraqi and U.N. negotiators meeting in Austria announced Tuesday that Iraq has agreed to allow the inspectors to return and that an advance team was scheduled to arrive in Baghdad in about two weeks.

Hans Blix, head of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission, announced the agreement with Iraq after two days of talks on practical arrangements for the inspectors' return.

The new Iraq agreement reached in Vienna, Austria, opens "special sites" such as mosques and government ministries to inspectors without notice or restrictions, said officials. But the agreement does not include so-called "presidential sites" covered by an earlier deal between Iraq and the United Nations.

Blix said access to those eight compounds, controlled by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, must be addressed by the U.N. Security Council. For all other areas, Tuesday's agreement "places all sites on the same basis," he said.

But Powell said Iraq would continue to deceive inspectors without a new resolution backing their work with the threat of force.

"We will not be satisfied with Iraqi half-truths, Iraqi compromises, Iraqi efforts to get us back into the same swamp they took the United Nations into back in 1998," he said.

Powell said U.S. officials are awaiting Blix's report to the Security Council, expected Thursday. He did not answer directly when asked whether Washington would take steps to prevent inspectors' return.

But a senior State Department official said Tuesday that U.S. officials would "move into thwart mode" if inspectors tried to return to Iraq without a new resolution.

"We are quite aware of the planning and schedules," the senior official said. "We will do everything we can to make sure [Blix] has new authority."

Inspectors are expected back in Baghdad in two weeks, said Gen. Amr Al-Sadi, an adviser to Saddam. He said Iraqi authorities "are authorized to take the inspectors wherever they want to go."

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said inspectors intend to test the Iraqi agreement once they return to Baghdad.

Weapons inspectors left Iraq in 1998 ahead of a U.S. and British bombardment and after months of complaints that Iraqi officials were obstructing their work.

President Bush has warned that Washington would move to oust Saddam on its own if the United Nations fails to act.

The 1998 agreement on presidential sites forbids inspectors from entering the presidential sites without advance notice or diplomatic escort. U.S. officials have suggested that Iraq could be hiding facilities to produce nuclear, chemical or biological weapons within the compounds, in violation of U.N. resolutions requiring its disarmament.

"These are places that Saddam Hussein doesn't even go to. These are government facilities, government property where who knows what is going on, " White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Tuesday. "And there's a good reason Saddam Hussein does not want people to go there and take a look at these facilities, even if he never sleeps there."

Iraq has said it would not accept any new Security Council resolutions. Meeting Tuesday, the Iraqi Cabinet Tuesday questioned the need for a new resolution. Saddam chaired the panel, which issued a statement.

The statement said "evil people" would not be able to push Iraq into "accepting what is not acceptable."

-- CNN Producer Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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