United Nations, 27 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Top UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix (pictured right) and Muhammad el-Baradei are delivering a report today at the UN Security Council on their search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Blix has said that Iraq has failed to fill in missing information in its arms declaration, is blocking access to scientists, and is balking at U-2 surveillance flights.
He said: "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace." In Brussels, the European Union called on Iraq to cooperate fully with UN weapons inspectors in their search for weapons. The 15 EU foreign ministers said in a statement that they want the inspectors to be given more time, if needed. The statement was an endorsement of a position agreed on earlier by French, German, British, and Spanish foreign ministers. At the UN, Secretary-General Kofi Annan also said inspectors should be given more time to finish their work. "If they (UN weapons inspectors) do need time, they should be given the time to do their work and all of us, the [Security] council, when they sent them (the inspectors) in, must have realized that time will be necessary, a reasonable amount of time; I'm not saying forever, but they do need time to get the work done and I suspect the council will allow for that."
Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed in a telephone conversation on the need for Iraq to "comply with UN obligations," including cooperation with the inspectors. In a separate statement, Britain said Iraq is hiding arms, spying on the inspectors, and hindering their movements.
But in Baghdad today, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said Iraq has cooperated fully with UN inspectors. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday said it is not necessary for the inspectors to find weapons in order to prove that Iraq is in material breach of its disarmament obligations.