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Baghdad Agrees to Submit Detailed Report on Chemical, Biological Agents - 2003-03-03

United Nations officials say Baghdad has agreed to submit a detailed report on the alleged destruction of its stocks of anthrax and VX nerve agent. The announcement comes on the heels of an Iraqi warning that it may stop destroying its al-Samoud 2 missiles.

Baghdad maintains it destroyed all of its supplies of anthrax and VX nerve agent in 1991, but U.N. weapons inspectors have said tons of the agents remain unaccounted for. Monday, U.N. officials announced Baghdad would provide, in about a week, a more detailed report to the Security Council egarding those chemical and biological agents.

The announcement follows a three hour technical meeting Sunday between U.N. and Iraqi officials.

The top scientific adviser to Saddam Hussein, General Amer al-Saadi, said Sunday that excavations had produced significant traces of the agents. He said the agents were discovered in fragments from nearly all of the 157 previously destroyed bombs Baghdad said had been filled with anthrax and VX nerve agent.

General al-Saadi also said Baghdad might stop the destruction of its Al-Samoud-2 missiles, if Iraqi officials become convinced U.S. forces will attack Iraq without approval from the U.N. Security Council.

Destruction of the surface-to-surface missiles continued Monday. Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix has said the weapons exceed a U.N.-mandated limit of 150 kilometers. Iraq insists the missiles would fly below the mandated range, once they are loaded with the extra weight of guidance and control systems and warheads.

Meanwhile, Bahrain and Kuwait say they support a proposal made by the United Arab Emirates calling on Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his government to quit and leave Iraq in an effort to avert war.

The UAE made the proposal during Saturday's Arab League summit in Egypt. Arab leaders refused to discuss the proposal. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said the majority of Arab leaders believe the issue is about making sure Iraq is fully disarmed, not about a change of government.

The secretary general also said a delegation of Arab diplomats would travel to New York within a matter of days to spell out the Arab position to the United Nations regarding the Iraqi crisis. The delegation is then expected to go to Baghdad.