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Chief UN Weapons Inspector Requests Full Iraqi Cooperation - 2003-01-16

Chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix says Iraq must cooperate more actively with his team of inspectors if it wants to avoid a war. Mr. Blix briefed European Union officials in Brussel, Thursday.

Mr. Blix says he will tell Iraqi officials when he arrives in Baghdad on Saturday night that the situation is tense and dangerous and that they must do more than they have done so far to avert a war.

"They need to be active in order to convince the Security Council, through us, that they do not have any more weapons of mass destruction," he stressed.

Mr. Blix says there are two avenues toward resolving the crisis. One, he says, is for the Iraqis to cooperate more closely with his inspectors and disarm. The other, he says, is military action.

The U.N. official says Iraq must provide credible new evidence that it has eliminated its suspected nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and allow its scientists to be interviewed freely in Iraq or abroad.

He also says his report to the Security Council on January 27 will not necessarily be the last word, and that it is likely that the Council will request a further report in February.