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Iraq Dismisses US Charges Declaration Is Full of Omissions - 2002-12-20


Iraq has dismissed U.S. claims that it has "totally failed" to comply with a U.N. disarmament resolution. The country's media today challenged Washington to prove its claims.

In an editorial Friday, Al Thawra, the newspaper of Iraq's ruling Baath Party, said President Bush was attempting to focus attention on Iraq to distract attention from the U.S. failure to capture leaders of the al Qaida organization. The paper called on Washington to substantiate its claims and provide U.N. inspectors with any evidence it has that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell charged Thursday that the 12,000-page weapons declaration that Iraq submitted to the United Nations was full of omissions.

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix has agreed that there are omissions in the document, but he said Friday that if the United States and Britain have knowledge of where Iraq is storing its weapons, that information should be handed over to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, U.N. weapons inspectors on Friday made another visit to the al Tuwaitha nuclear complex. The complex, located 25 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, was once considered the main site of Iraq's nuclear weapons program.

It has been visited several times since U.N. inspectors resumed operations in Iraq at the end of last month.

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