Key Developments Concerning Iraq
Developments in the Iraq crisis:
_ U.N. weapons inspectors and Iraqi specialists observe a static test of an engine for the al-Samoud missile, an Iraqi weapon under close scrutiny by the international arms monitors.
_ Chief arms inspector Hans Blix told the U.N. Security Council that Baghdad had not genuinely accepted U.N. resolutions demanding it disarm.
_ U.N. nuclear arms inspection chief Mohamed ElBaradei said he found no evidence that Iraq was reviving its nuclear program and that inspectors need a ``few months″ to complete the search.
_ The White House said the inspectors’ report shows no new sign that Baghdad has done enough to avoid war. Secretary of State Colin Powell warns that Iraq has ``not much more time″ and says Washington will announce its next steps as soon as next week.
_ Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle challenged the administration to show ``proof to the world″ that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. It is part of an attack by the party’s top leaders on the eve of President Bush’s State of the Union address.
_ British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Tuesday that Iraq is in ``material breach″ of a U.N. resolution requiring that it give up alleged weapons of mass destruction and that the inspectors’ reports shows that war with President Saddam Hussein is more likely than previously thought.
_ Presidents Jacques Chirac of France and Vladimir Putin of Russia _ whose countries both hold veto power at the U.N. Security Council _ said inspectors should be given more time. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said inspectors ``should get the time they need to be able to complete their work.″ The European Union issued a joint statement urging Baghdad to cooperate more fully with arms inspectors.
_ Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohammed al-Douri denied that Baghdad was being uncooperative: ``We open all doors to Mr. Blix and his team. If there is something, he will find it. We have no hidden reports at all. They have to read carefully this report.″