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U.N. to keep tight lid on Iraqi declaration

White House 'blindsided' by Blix announcement


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CNN's Christiane Amanpour talks to chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix.
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•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
•  Weapons: 3D Models
Deadlines for steps Iraq must take to be in full compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441:
December 8: Iraq must provide a "currently accurate, full and complete declaration" of any weapons of mass destruction program.
On or before January 27: Inspectors must report back to the Security Council.

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- On the eve of Iraq's official declaration on weapons of mass destruction, the United Nations Friday announced the document will not be given to the U.N. Security Council -- which demanded the declaration -- until weapons inspectors have examined it and possibly even edited out parts.

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Friday that any parts of the declaration relating to the proliferation of prohibited weapons "or any other very sensitive thing, we'll say cannot be circulated to anybody."

The 15-member council agreed to the procedure after discussing "the risks of releasing parts of this declaration that might help to achieve proliferation of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons," Blix said.

A Western diplomatic source told CNN the Security Council agreed to the procedure partly because the United States, Russia, and other countries are concerned about releasing information that would provide "a training manual for how to build weapons of mass destruction."

But CNN has learned that some in the Bush administration were blindsided by the announcement.

"We want that stuff and not after Blix gets it," a senior administration source told CNN. "We want the whole thing."

The source said he was working phones "trying to get this straightened out ... this isn't over yet."

But another senior administration official seemed satisfied with the decision. He said he was confident the five permanent members of the Security Council will read the entire document "eventually."

Gen. Hassan Amin, head of the Iraqi Monitoring Directorate, is expected to hand the voluminous declaration Saturday to a U.N. diplomat in Baghdad. The diplomat will then hand-deliver the documents to UNMOVIC chief Blix in Cyprus, IAEA director-general Mohammed ElBaradei in Vienna, and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York.

U.S. officials want to analyze the declaration and compare it to U.S. intelligence on Iraq.

Baghdad has indicated the document will contain more than 10,000 pages, but will maintain that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction.

That's a claim the United States and Britain have called an absolute lie.

The U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the two agencies searching Iraq for evidence of weapons of mass destruction, also have a million pages of information Iraq from past inspections and intelligence gathering.

Blix said the declaration will list any weapons of mass destruction programs as well as dual-use programs -- things Iraq says are used for civilian purposes but could also serve military purposes.

Some of it will be in Arabic, and the report will likely not be available on CD-ROM, Blix said.

It will take time to translate and analyze the long, complex report, he said. U.N. officials have said it may take days or weeks.

The Security Council does not expect to hear from Blix until Tuesday, at the earliest, about when he might distribute the declaration, one diplomat said.

And Blix's initial report to the council describing weapons inspectors' analysis of the declaration may not happen until December 16, the source said.

If the United Nations finds the declaration to be incomplete or untrue, it could find Iraq in "material breach" of Resolution 1441, which calls for Iraq to fully disclose its weapons of mass destruction programs and to disarm.

The U.S. government has said if Iraq does not comply and fully disarm, it will lead a coalition to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein through military force.

Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, said the report will contain a "very huge" amount of information as demanded by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, adopted unanimously in November, calling for Iraq to disclose its weapons of mass destruction programs and to disarm.

It will have "all the information they need," Aldouri said Friday.

But White House spokesman Ari Fleischer reiterated the Bush administration's warning not to trust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who he said has a proven record of lying to the United Nations.

"Sometimes one of the best ways to hide or to deceive is to come out with such a voluminous document that it makes people miss the things that aren't in there," he said. "Just because Iraq turns over a phone book to the United Nations doesn't mean that nobody inside Iraq has an unlisted phone number."

"We won't be fooled ... into thinking that the size alone dictates that Iraq has complied," Fleischer said.

The U.N. resolution said that if Iraq provides false information or leaves out pertinent information and fails to comply with the implementation of the resolution it will constitute a "material breach."

U.S. officials have said that if the United States finds a material breach, it may call for a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the use of military force against Iraq.

And no matter what the council decides, President Bush has said the United States may decide to lead a coalition to disarm Saddam through military force.

However, an administration source told CNN that top White House officials have agreed that the United States will not declare war on Iraq based on a material breach in the resolution.

The administration is concerned it "wouldn't play well" in the international community for the United States to declare war soon after the arrival of the declaration, the source said.

It would take more time and "a body of obstructionism" from Iraq for the United States and allies to launch military action on Iraq, the source said.

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