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Bush Administration Skeptical About Iraq's Apparent Agreement to Disarm

The chief U.N. weapons inspector says Iraq's agreement "in principle" to destroy missiles that exceed U.N. limits is a "significant piece of real disarmament." The White House says it is another example of Iraq's attempt to mislead inspectors and hide illegal weapons.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the issue for President Bush is Iraq's continuing violation of U.N. resolutions demanding "full and complete" disarmament.

Mr. Fleischer said Iraq's apparent agreement to destroy the missiles does nothing to address concerns over suspected stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. "President Bush has always predicted that Iraq would destroy its al-Samoud 2 missiles as part of their games of deceptions," he said. "I think, when you summarize Iraq's statement that "in principle" they will destroy their missiles, the Iraqi actions are propaganda wrapped in a lie inside a falsehood."

Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix Friday called Iraq's apparent decision "a very significant piece of real disarmament" and said it is a sign that Iraq has now become "very active" in cooperating with inspectors.

Iraq says it has no illegal weapons, and believes President Bush is determined to attack the country, regardless of what the United Nations decides.