US grabs Iraqi declaration

The 11,807-page report on arms programmes presented by the government of Iraq was taken by US officials as they arrived at the Security Council, a move denounced by Baghdad as “banditry”.

The United States has claimed that it does not want Syria, in particular, to have access to details of nuclear weapons programmes and intends the five permanent members of the Security Council with the right to veto, namely Russia, France, the UK, China and the USA itself, to have access to the full document before the other ten rotating members. The officials offered to take the photo-copies themselves before distributing the document, which has already been done.

Baghdad has criticised the measure, claiming that it fears the USA will doctor the document in a trumped-up pretext to launch a war. Syria also strongly criticised the action taken by the USA, stating that “All members voted for Resolution 1441 and all those who voted for the report have the right to have access to the report”.

Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, described the move as “unfortunate” and hoped it would not be repeated.


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