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UN: El-Baradei Says Iraq Must Improve Cooperation

London, 6 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Mohammad el-Baradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said today Iraq needs to show a "drastic change" of attitude in cooperating with UN weapons inspectors before they report to the UN Security Council on Iraq's compliance with UN demands to disarm next week. "I think the message coming from the Security Council is very clear, that Iraq is not cooperating fully, that they need to show drastic change in terms of cooperation. The message also coming from the Security Council is that time is very critical and that we need to show progress in our report which will be due on the 14th of this month," el-Baradei said.

El-Baradei spoke after he and chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix briefed British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London on their search for suspected weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. El-Baradei and Blix are traveling to Iraq this weekend before reporting to the Security Council on 14 February.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday presented the Security Council with what the U.S. says is clear evidence that Iraq maintains and is concealing from the UN inspectors banned weapons. Iraq said the evidence was fabricated to serve as a pretext for war against Iraq.

Many leaders across the world today reiterated their demand for a new UN resolution before launching military action to force Iraq to disarm.