The chief United Nations weapons inspector for Iraq has submitted a new report, which says Iraq is making progress in some areas but is still not fully cooperating with efforts to rid it of banned weapons. The Security Council will review the report, while deciding whether to approve a U.S. and British-backed resolution that could lead to war.
This latest Blix report was due by Saturday and a spokesman for the chief weapons inspector says that like his previous reports to the Security Council, this one as well, reports progress in some areas but not enough in others.
In particular, U.N. spokesman Ewen Buchanan says weapons inspectors have yet to see signs that Iraq has begun to destroy scores of its al-Samoud 2 short range missiles, which Mr. Blix ordered Baghdad to begin doing by Saturday. Iraq denies the missiles violate range limits set by the Security Council at the end of the Gulf War.
Still, U.N. spokesman Buchanan describes this 16-page report as lacking any direct evidence that could sway a majority on the Security Council to approve a new U.S. and British-backed resolution declaring Iraq has now missed its last chance for peaceful disarmament and must now face serious consequences - language both countries would use to authorize war.
The report will be distributed to Security Council members as they continue closed-door debate on whether to approve this new resolution or give weapons inspectors more time.