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Iraqi Official Promises More Cooperation With UN Inspectors - 2003-02-15

The Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz insisted in Rome Friday that his country has no banned weapons of mass destruction. He promised greater cooperation with U.N. inspectors.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister said his country has no weapons of mass destruction and is doing everything possible to provide cooperation.

"We are genuinely working with the inspectors to help them to reach the truth. We will do whatever possible and in our hands, in our capability to help them to reach the ultimate truth about the absence of weapons of mass destruction," he said.

Speaking at a news conference in Rome, Mr. Aziz added that the United States keeps repeating that time is running out because it is afraid of the ultimate result of the inspections.

Mr. Aziz rejected the claim that Baghdad supports or has any relationship with fundamentalist groups including al Qaeda. He denied U.S. allegations of Baghdad's links to terrorists calling them "a bad American movie" and not the reality.

He also said Baghdad did not need any outside help in the case of a U.S. invasion. Iraq does not need the support of al Qaeda or anyone else because, Mr Aziz said there are "enough brave men and woman among the 25 million Iraqis to defend our country".

The Iraqi official also warned Europe that participating in a U.S. led war against Iraq would be interpreted in the Arab world as a crusade against Arabs and Moslems. He urged them not to participate in a U.S. led war of aggression, which he said is unjust, immoral and illegal.

Mr Aziz also charged America has, what he called "imperialist ambitions". He claimed the United States wants to colonize Iraq and dominate the Middle East.