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Iraq: UN Search for Banned Weapons Continues - 2003-02-06

U.N. weapons inspectors fanned out across Iraq Thursday, continuing their search for weapons of mass destruction, while Iraqi newspapers were silent regarding Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation to the Security Council.

U.N. arms inspectors traveled Thursday to a brewery, an army storage depot, a military engineering academy, the laboratory of a health care facility and Iraq's water and sewage authority. Also, for the second day in a row, inspectors visited a storage facility belonging to Iraq's former nuclear program.

Iraq's state-run newspapers made no mention Thursday of Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation to the Security Council, in which he accused Baghdad of continued non-compliance with U.N. weapons inspectors and of hiding banned weapons. Late Wednesday, Iraqi officials said the secretary of state was trying to create a pretext for war.

Iraq is coming under increasing pressure to provide new weapons information, but there was no indication Thursday that any new information had been revealed.

Iraqi authorities have been promising greater cooperation. On Saturday, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, will make what could be a critical two-day visit to Baghdad. Both men report to the Security Council February 14.