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Iraq: Aziz Foresees More Cooperation, Threatens Retaliation

Ottawa, Canada; 28 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says Iraq intends to increase its cooperation with United Nations arms inspectors looking for banned weapons of mass destruction. Aziz was speaking in a Canadian television interview (CBC) after chief weapons inspector Hans Blix yesterday told the UN Security Council that Iraq has been providing some cooperation, but not full cooperation, with the arms inspectors.

In the interview, Aziz also said Iraq could strike against Kuwait if U.S. forces invade Iraq from there. But he said Iraq would not seek to strike the United States during a possible U.S.-led military campaign.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the UN arms inspectors' report showed that the Iraqi regime is not committed to disarming. Powell warned that time is running out on how long the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush will allow the arms-inspection process to continue.

Britain and Australia have joined the United States in condemning Iraq's failure to cooperate with arms inspectors. However, Russia, France, Germany, China, and the Arab League have all urged that arms inspections be given a chance to continue.