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Iraq: WMD Report Released; Hussein 'Apologizes' To Kuwaitis

Baghdad, 7 December (RFE/RL) -- Iraq handed over to the UN a long-awaited declaration detailing its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs. Iraqi government vehicles delivered the 11,807-page report tonight to the UN compound in Baghdad, a day ahead of the deadline set by the world body. Speaking to journalists earlier today, Iraqi General Hossam Mohammed Amin, the official in charge of compiling the report, said Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction.

The document is scheduled to be flown to UN headquarters in New York and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on 8 November.

Amin, who oversaw the production of the declaration, said the 11,807-page document will satisfy and answer all the questions about Iraq's arsenal that have surfaced in recent months.

"I reiterate here that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction but these declarations perhaps contain some activities and equipment which are dual use and they will be declared fully and completely and accurately to the Security Council, to UNMOVIC, and to the IAEA."

Under the conditions of UN Security Council resolution 1441, the document must make a "currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of aspects" of its weapons programs.

Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said on 6 November that the report will not be handed over to UN members immediately. Diplomats say it will take at least a week for inspectors to examine the report and pass it to the Security Council members.

U.S. President George W. Bush has warned the document must be "credible" for Iraq to avoid military action. In his weekly Saturday radio address Bush said: "We will judge the declaration's honesty and completeness only after we have thoroughly examined it, and that will take some time."

Meanwhile, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein today indirectly apologized to Kuwait for Baghdad's invasion of the emirate in 1990.

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf read a statement on state television from the president saying: "we apologize to God for any deed that angered him in the past, which we might not have known of and is blamed on us." He said: "and on this basis we also apologize to you," the Kuwaitis.

But the statement also said that Kuwaitis are confused about the facts surrounding the 1990 events. It said Washington had sought to occupy the emirate and that Iraq had prevented it from doing so.

Saddam's statement also said both Iraq and Kuwait have been victims of foreign powers. He called on Kuwaitis to join the people of Iraq instead of following the Kuwaiti leadership -- which he accused of following the dictates of Washington and London.