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Saddam Obviously Lying to UN About Weapons, says Blair - 2002-12-18


Britain says Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is obviously lying to the United Nations when he says he has no weapons of mass destruction. British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the world must be skeptical about Iraq's assertions.

Prime Minister Blair told parliament Wednesday his government will make its final assessment on the 12,000 page Iraqi document in the new year. But he said its initial analysis finds the declaration lacking.

"I think most people who have looked at this obviously very long document are pretty skeptical about the claims that it makes. But it is important that we study it in detail and make a formal and considered response," Mr. Blair said.

Earlier, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called Saddam Hussein's assertion that he has no weapons of mass destruction an "obvious falsehood."

In another development, British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon confirmed that his ministry was contracting shippers to haul heavy weaponry to the Persian Gulf region in case of war with Iraq.