Hans Blix: Baghdad's Complete Cooperation With UN Inspectors Can Avert War in Iraq

Only complete and unconditional co-operation of the Iraqi authorities with UN inspectors may avert the threat of war in Iraq, Hans Blix, the UN inspections head, said in Brussels on Thursday. He called the situation "very tense and dangerous." The goal of Blix's visit to Brussels was to hold consultations with high-ranking officials of the European Union.

Blix told the press that the UN inspectors had discovered illegally imported conventional arms and military materials. Some of them were purchased no later than two year ago, he said. It's yet to be determined if these materials and arms have something to do with weapons of mass destruction, the head of the UN inspectors said.

To avoid a war, Baghdad, Blix said, should present new convincing proofs that it has stopped developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes and allow its experts both in Iraq and abroad to be freely questioned. The questioning should be conducted either in the absence of Iraqi officials or on the condition that these experts could be allowed to leave Iraq, he said.

Blix said that after his European tour he would return to Baghdad. He assumes that the UN Security Council's session on January 27th will not be the last to deal with the subject and that the Security Council is likely to ask the inspectors to submit a new report in February.

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