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UN: Blix Orders Iraq To Destroy Missiles

United Nations, 22 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix has ordered Iraq to destroy dozens of illegal missiles and their components by 1 March. Blix sent the four-page order to the Iraqis last night. In the letter, Blix ordered Iraq to destroy, under UN supervision, all of its Al-Sumud 2 missiles and warheads, the missiles' engines, launchers, testing equipment, software, and documentation associated with the missile.

Also, the United States was closer today to gaining permission to deploy troops in Turkey for a possible attack on Iraq. Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said a "broad agreement" had been reached with the U.S. on using Turkish bases.

U.S. President George W. Bush met with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in Crawford, Texas, yesterday. Aznar supports the U.S. stance on Iraq. The two discussed how to rally other world leaders behind a new UN resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

In Malaysia, non-Arab countries from the 114-member Non-Aligned Movement met and drafted a resolution expressing "grave concern" over an invasion of Iraq but dropping language from Arab countries that branded any attack as aggression. The draft also calls on Iraq to fully cooperate with UN inspectors.

Meanwhile, veteran British diplomat Chris Patten, the European Union's external relations commissioner, said in comments published today the international community will have to be in Iraq "for a very long and expensive time."