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Iraq: Baghdad Criticizes U.S. War Preparations

Baghdad, 2 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz today criticized the United States for continuing to prepare for war against Iraq while the government is cooperating with UN weapons inspectors. The United States announced yesterday that 15,000 troops from an infantry division that specializes in desert warfare have been ordered to the region. The U.S. already has about 65,000 troops in the region.

Aziz said the UN experts have been able to visit all the sites they have wanted to inspect and will have the same access in the future. He said they have found no weapons of mass destruction. "This imperialist American design is a global danger not only to Iraq, not only to the Arab nations, but to the whole world."

The weapons inspectors visited several sites in central Iraq today, including a printing house and a missile site. The weapons inspectors said yesterday they plan to use helicopters to widen their operation.