U.N. inspectors will give their report the U.N. Security Council Monday and are expected to say that Iraq is still is not fully cooperating in the search for banned weapons. In December, Iraq submitted a 12,000 page document that was supposed to account for all of its Chemical, Biological and other weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Blix has said that report is incomplete. But Iraqi officials vehemently disagree.
Iraqi officials have steadfastly maintained Baghdad is complying with the U.N. Security Council resolution 1441 calling on Iraq to disclose information about its weapons programs.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said Monday Iraq has "super-cooperated" with the inspection teams.
Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix has said he believes Iraq seeks to find a peaceful solution, but he said there has not been full cooperation from Iraq.
Some of the issues that have not been resolved include the question of whether Iraqi scientists can be taken out of the country to be interviewed. Weapons inspectors have also complained they have not been able to interview Iraqi scientists in private. The Iraqi foreign minister said his government cannot force anyone to submit to unattended interviews.
"I think you care very much in the United States and Europe for personal freedom and personal liberties," said Mr. Sabri. "Are those scientists not covered by this concept? And you ask us to force them to accept unattended interviews? We have been encouraging them but we cannot force them and nobody can force anybody to be interviewed without the presence of his own lawyer. The scientists want the presence of some people during their interviews to insure that their words will not be changed."
Another issue involves the use of U-2 spy planes, which the inspectors want to use to fly over suspected weapons sites. Mr. Sabri said Iraq has no objection to their use but said because of U.S. and British patrols in the so-called no-fly zones Iraq cannot guarantee the safety of the planes.
Weapons inspectors have visited about 400 suspected weapons sites since resuming inspections November 27. Inspectors say hundreds more need to been seen.
Mr. Sabri said the inspection process has proved Iraq is not in possession of banned nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. "Inspectors went to all these sites and found nothing and exposed that these accusations are mere lies," he said.
A top science adviser to President Saddam Hussein, Amri al-Saadi, said even though Iraq has done everything the weapons inspectors have asked, it appears war is unstoppable.
In Baghdad, residents have been quoted as saying they want peace, but believe war has become inevitable. Some residents have reportedly begun digging wells in their gardens to provide an additional water supply in the event of war. Many Iraqis have said they have been unable to stock up on supplies in anticipation of war because they can't afford it.
Iraqi Deputy Vice President Tareq Aziz said Monday Iraq is prepared to fight courageously and effectively and that the United States will lose.