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White House Dismisses Iraqi Weapons Inspection Comments - 2002-08-12

The White House has dismissed the latest comments from Iraq on weapons inspectors. Iraq's information minister says the inspectors completed their work long ago and there is no need for them to return. The Bush administration stresses the Iraqis have obligations and they must be met.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan says the position of the United States and the International Community is clear. He says Iraq must abide by the agreements it made more than a decade ago.

Under U.N. Security Council resolutions, sanctions imposed against Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait are to remain in place until U.N. inspectors verify its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons capabilities have been destroyed.

The inspectors left in 1998 and have never been permitted to return.

Mr. McClellan told reporters covering the president's Texas vacation there is no need for discussion with Baghdad, that Iraq knows what it must do.

President Bush has repeatedly accused Iraq of seeking to develop and acquire biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. He has called for a regime change in Baghdad, and has vowed to explore all options to reach that goal.