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UN: U.S., U.K. Criticize Iraqi Weapons Declaration

Washington, 19 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The United States and Britain have criticized Iraq's weapons declaration to the United Nations, saying there are omissions and other "problems" in the 12,000-page text. Washington and London stated their views ahead of today's scheduled first briefing to the Security Council on the Iraqi declaration by the chief United Nations arms inspectors, Hans Blix and Mohammad el-Baradei.

Following the presentation by the UN inspectors, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte are expected to further outline the U.S. position.

Iraq says in the declaration, handed over to the UN on 7 December, that it possesses no banned weapons of mass destruction.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said President George W. Bush is concerned about the Iraqi declaration's failure to disclose information about suspected missile, chemical-, biological-, and nuclear-weapons programs, as required by the UN. "The president is concerned about Iraq's failure to list information in this document. The president is concerned with omissions in this document and the president is concerned with problems in this document."

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in London that the Iraqi declaration was not the "full and complete" version of Iraqi weapons programs demanded by the UN Security Council.

Under UN Security Council Resolution 1441, approved unanimously in November, Iraq was ordered to disarm or face undisclosed "serious consequences."