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Iraq Denies Weapons Report Contains Gaps - 2003-01-09

Iraq has denied that there are gaps in its weapons report, submitted to the U.N. Security Council. It also says it will complain to the United Nations about what it calls unjustified activities by arms inspectors.

President Saddam Hussein's top science adviser has disputed U.S. and British charges that the Iraq arms report submitted to the United Nations last month is incomplete. The adviser, Amir al-Saadi, told a visiting South African delegation in Baghdad that he could cite specific information in the report to refute charges that Iraq has not eliminated banned weapons.

Mr. Saadi said some people who found gaps in the 12,000-page document had not read it in its entirety. But he did not specifically mention complaints about the report made by U.N. chief inspector Hans Blix or International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed El-Baradei.

Mr. Blix is to brief the Security Council on Iraq's report, and will submit the first full report on the inspections on January 27.

Mr. Saadi also said Iraq will issue a formal complaint about what he called, "inappropriate activities", by the inspectors. He stopped short of calling the activities, spying, the term used by President Saddam Hussein earlier this week.

The U.N. inspectors say they have not yet found evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But they say Iraq's report fails to prove that it has destroyed missiles, warheads, and chemical warfare agents. Mr. El-Baradei says he does not have enough information to determine whether Iraq is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The Bush administration says Iraq's weapons declaration fails to give complete information in nine key areas, including thousands of pounds of unaccounted for material for producing anthrax and mustard gas.

Iraq has challenged the United States and Britain to provide proof that it possesses banned weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, U.N. inspectors searched at least six sites, including military installations and a veterinary laboratory. Aerial inspections were cancelled for the day due to bad weather.